- Sterling remained weak after Prime Minister Theresa May was able to narrowly win a vote surrounding a customs unions post-Brexit.

Investors were concerned about a decreased likelihood of a 'soft' Brexit.

The weaker pound supported the blue-chip index as the majority of companies generate earnings overseas.

Among the top dogs were miner BHP Billiton, up 2.2% at £16.59 and AstraZeneca, which gained 1.8% to £56.54.

The FTSE 100 traded 0.6% higher at 7,674 around midday.

Brent crude oil slipped 0.6% to $71.69 per barrel. Copper cheapened 0.6% to $2.72 per pound and gold nudged 0.1% to $1,223 per ounce.

UK inflation remained at 2.4% in June, unchanged from May according to the Office for National Statistics.

House prices rose 3% in the year to May, marking the lowest UK annual rate since August 2013.


Budget airline EasyJet flew 1.1% higher to £16.71 after upgrading annual pre-tax profit guidance from £530 to £580m to a range of £550m and £590m. The airline delivered a strong performance despite severe weather and disruption from strikes thanks to a boost from the collapse of rivals.

Packaging specialist RPC warned of pressure on the company's market valuation and different investor views on the right amount of leverage, which could constrain growth opportunities. The stock fell 5.1% to 735.6p.

Engineer Smiths revealed a profit warning for its medical division, which was hit by the temporary suspension of some of its products in Europe and the termination of two US contracts. Shares in Smiths reversed 8.5% to £16.

Gaming company GVC benefitted from a second quarter boost from the World Cup, helping net gaming sales rise 8% in its first half. Investors were in profit taking mode as the shares dipped 2.5% to £10.79.


Tailoring firm Bagir catapulted 107% to 3p on the news that Asian global textile manufacturer Shandong Ruyi will invest $16.5m to acquire a 54% stake in the company.

Mr Kipling and Bisto brands owner Premier Foods reported a slowdown in sales growth, prompting a 6.3% markdown in the stock to 43.8p.

Brexit-related uncertainty and cost overruns was blamed by packaging solutions provider MPAC for a profit warning as annual profits are expected to be £1.2m below market expectations. Its shares crashed 37.5% to 136.6p.

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