- Positive UK economic data and suggestions of progress towards a Brexit deal boosted the pound and put pressure on the overseas earnings dominated FTSE 100.

The UK economy grew by 0.6% in the quarter to July, up from a 0.4% increase in the previous quarter thanks to the heatwave and World Cup according to the Office for National Statistics.

The FTSE 100 only added 1.6 points to 7,279 around midday.

Among the biggest fallers were Fresnillo, Direct Line and Next.

Brent crude oil was up 0.6% at $77.30 per barrel.

Shares in embattled department store chain Debenhams slumped 10.1% to 11.5p following reports over the weekend that it is bringing in advisers to explore restructuring plans.


Shares in Dignity retreated 5.3% to 977p after rival Co-op cut the price of its standard funerals.

Plastics business RPC revealed preliminary discussions around a possible sale of the company with Apollo Global Management and Bain Capital, sparking a 18% rally to 806.6p.

Primark owner Associated British Foods confirmed its annual outlook was unchanged despite European sugar prices coming under pressure from high supply. The conglomerate said profitability at Primark is expected to offset this, but this failed to reassure the market as the stock was flat at £22.57.

Student accommodation investor Unite exchanged contracts with Singapore Press Holdings for the sale of 14 properties for £108.5m. Shares in the company advanced 0.6% to 881.5p.


City centre bar chain Revolution Bars declined 4% to 122p on confirmed discussions to buy Deltic, a year after the companies were involved in merger talks.

Orosur Mining completed a $2m private placing and exploration deal with Newmont Columbia, causing the shares to soar 151.4% to 4.5p.

Renewable fuels company Velocys announced the board of EVIA Energy decided to suspend operations at the Oklahoma City plant and undertake a review of strategic alternatives. The stock plummeted 15.7% to 5.2p

Allied Minds announced its subsidiary Federated Wireless met two important milestones, pushing the shares 8.7% higher to 80p.

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