StockMarketWire.com - The weakness in the FTSE 100 accelerated on Friday and by lunchtime the index was down at 0.4% to 7,484.86. Crunch discussions on Brexit and reheated trade fears are in focus.

LARGE CAP AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Whitbread jumped 16% to £46.51 after it agreed to sell its Costa coffee chain to Coca-Cola for an enterprise value of £3.9bn and pledged to return 'a significant majority' of the proceeds to shareholders.

The deal marked a change of tack for the Premier Hotel chain owner, which had originally intended to offload Costa via a de-merger.

British software company Sage Group dropped 8.6% to 590p as the sudden resignation of chief executive Stephen Kelly sparked more concerns about the company's performance following a revenue downgrade in April.

Free-to-air broadcaster ITV dipped 0.2% to 161.9p as investment bank Morgan Stanley cut its recommendation on the shares from 'overweight' to 'equal-weight' and dropped its price target from 230p to 210p.

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca dropped 1.4% to £58.27 after its lupus treatment failed to meet its primary objectives in a trial.

Shire, meanwhile, said it had completed the sale of its oncology franchise to Servier for $2.4bn. Its shares dipped 0.5% to £44.92.

Restaurant Group, which owns the Frankie & Benny's and Garfunkel's chains, rallied 6.1% to 292p after investors looked past a fall in first-half profit and focused on improving like-for-like sales since the end of June.

Vodafone Group fell 0.3% to 167p after it said a merger between its Indian unit and Idea Cellular had been completed.

John Laing Infrastructure Fund posted a surge in first-half profit and said a shareholder vote on a takeover of the company would occur next month. Its shares were steady.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Midatech Pharma soared 33% to 34.65p on the back of several positive outcomes from a study testing the efficacy and safety of its treatment for carcinoid cancer and acromegaly.

Minoan Group gained 4.6% to 5.65p after it said it was closing in on a potential sale of its travel and leisure business Stewart Travel to its primary lender Zachary Asset Holdings.

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