- The FTSE 100 was broadly unmoved at 7,643 around midday as weakness in the mining sector offset rising utility stocks.

Miner Antofagasta was under pressure after a disappointing set of half year results with its earnings and dividend payout missing expectations as trade war tensions created short-term uncertainty. Shares in Antofagasta shed 5.9% to 896.6p.

Rivals Fresnillo and Anglo American retreated by approximately 2.2% apiece and were followed lower by Rio Tinto and Glencore.

Among the notable risers were United Utilities and Severn Trent, which both gained over 1.8% each.

Brent crude oil added 0.8% to $73.23 per barrel.

UK unemployment fell by 65,000 between April and June to 1.36 million. According to the Office for National Statistics, unemployment has not been lower since December 1974 to February 1975.


Chemicals specialist Elementis enjoyed a 5.5% share price jump to 270p following a raft of positive analyst commentary from the likes of JO Morgan, Numis and Berenberg.

Insurer Esure agreed to be bought out by Bain Capital Equity in a £1.21bn deal, helping the shares accelerate 4% to 277.8p. Investors overlooked a decline in pre-tax profit from £45.1m a year ago to £36.1m following adverse weather earlier this year.

UK delivery company Royal Mail retreated 0.8% to 458.4p despite being hit with a record £50m fine from Ofcom. Royal Mail reported it is appealing the fine.


Biotechnology firm SalvaRx entered a conditional sale agreement to sell its interest in subsidiary SalvaRx to Portage Biotech for $67.5m, triggering an 84.3% surge in the stock to 81.8p.

Shares in Realm Therapeutics went in the other direction on the news its atopic dermatitis treatment failed in its Phase II clinical trial, leading to a 38.8% crash to 24.4p.

Avanti Communications gained 6% higher to 5.6p on confirmation it received $20m following a settlement with the government of Indonesia.

Distributor John Menzies was flat at 649p on a mixed half year update as pre-tax profit rose 15.4% thanks to higher cargo volumes and new contracts, but the value of its newspaper business had to be written down.

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