- Weakness in the pound helped the FTSE 100 to a strong finish for the week. By the close the index of leading UK shares was up although it was still down on the level at which it opened on Monday.

US stocks managed more modest gains early on after a disappointing US jobs report. Around 4.30pm UK time the S&P 500 was up 0.2%.


Royal Bank of Scotland gained 3% to 257.5p after it broke the dividend drought with a 2p per share payment, despite posting weaker interim earnings, and dangled the possibility of special returns to shareholders next year.

Gambling group William Hill dropped 8.2% to 268.3p after it booked a huge write-down to account for a looming regulatory cap on fixed-odd sports betting terminals, sending it to a deep first-half loss.

Despite the potentially negative read-through from the results, Paddy Power Betfair ticked up 0.7% to £81.40 announcing that its US subsidiary FanDuel Group had partnered with Boyd Gaming to expand its presence in promising US sports betting markets.

British Airways-owner International Consolidated Airlines Group descended 2.2% to 669.8p after first-half profits, while higher, were hurt by higher fuel costs and industrial action.

Mondi rallied 7.9% to £22.36 as strong demand for its cardboard packaging from e-commerce providers drove a 17% rise in underlying earnings.

Pet production retailer and veterinary group Pets at Home jumped 11.4% to 126p after it boosted revenue in the first quarter by 8.1%.

Defence contractor Cobham, which has been plagued by delays with a new Boeing re-fueling tanker, had some rare good news for investors. Its shares gained 3.2% to 128.5p after first-half pretax profits and revenue fell less than expected.

Millennium & Copthorne Hotels posted a 3.2% rise in first-half profit after revenue growth in Asia was offset by falling revenue in London. Its shares fell 1.7% to 515p.

Quality assurance group Intertek agreed to acquire US software provider Alchemy for $480m. Its shares gained 0.7% to £58.40.

Insurance company Phoenix Group said it had hired former Lehman Brothers banker Nicholas Lyons as its new chairman. Its shares gained 0.8% to 681.5p.


Internet-of-things investment firm Tern fell 40% to 15p as a financial forecasts for a company it is invested in, Device Authority, were withdrawn after a fundraising was not completed.

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