- The FTSE 100 rose 0.1% to 7,668 around 9am as a raft of positive financial results from blue-chips helped offset weakness in the mining and oil sectors.

Among the weakest performers was oil major Royal Dutch Shell, down 1.5% at £26.82 and Anglo American, down 1.6% at £16.72.

Brent crude oil increased 1% to $74.68 per barrel and copper climbed 1.3% to $2.84 per pound.


Shares in pharma giant AstraZeneca got a 1.7% boost to £56.57 despite profit falling 28% in the second quarter as revenue rose 2% thanks to newer products helping to offset declining revenues from older treatments.

Cigarette giant British American Tobacco drifted 4.6% higher to £41.57 following an increase in first-half profits and revenues, driven by higher cigarette volumes.

Broadband provider Sky revealed robust full year results amid an increase in like-for-like sales and earnings, but this failed to move the shares at £15.10.

Wound specialist Smith & Nephew kept its annual guidance unchanged and delivered sales growth of 4% in the three months to 30 June, sparking a 3.7% gain to £13.69.

Security firm Sophos revealed slower than expected billings growth and a planned increase in annualised R&D and sales and marketing expenses, which hit earnings in its first quarter. The stock dimmed 1.1% to 517p.

Transport operator National Express accelerated 2% to 406.8p after unveiling revenue and profit growth in all divisions in the first half of 2018.

A 10% jump in pre-tax profit at bank Virgin Money in the first half of 2018 failed to boost the stock at 389.2p.


Energy storage solutions company redT energy signed an exclusivity agreement with Energy System Management to deliver two 40MWh grid-scale energy storage projects in Germany. Investors were pleased with the deal as the shares soared 38.5% to 6.7p.

Shares in oil and gas business Range Resources plummeted 31.4% to 0.1p after raising £1m via a shares placing, which will be used to accelerate the growth strategy of current assets in Trinidad.

Support services business John Menzies gained 10.3% to 661p after entering a conditional agreement to sell its print media division to investment funds managed by Endless LLP for £74.5m.

Story provided by