StockMarketWire.com - The FTSE 100 closed up 0.5% as sterling surrendered some of its recent gains after a meeting of EU leaders in Salzburg appeared to make much progress on Brexit.

Rio Tinto strengthened 2.4% to £37.94 after announcing it will return approximately $3.2bn of post-tax coal asset disposal proceeds to its shareholders through a share buyback programme.

Sports car maker Aston Martin confirmed a price range of £17.50 and £22.50 for its planned share sale, valuing the company at approximately £5bn.

Pay-TV business Sky was broadly unchanged at £15.80 as the UK Takeover Panel ordered an auction between rival bidders 21st Century Fox and Comcast at the weekend with the results expected before the market open on Monday.

OVERSEAS MARKETS

The S&P 500 hit a new record in early trade amid some relief that the latest trade spat between the US and China will be less challenging than feared. The flagship US index was up 0.6% to 2,925.95 in early trading.

MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Drinks maker Diageo started the year well but warned that currency volatility is expected to hit sales by £175m and operating profits by £45m. The stock advanced 1.7% to £26.57.

Share trading platform IG slumped 8.9% to 787p on lower fiscal first-quarter sales as the volume of trading by retail clients was 'significantly' lower across the UK and EU as regulatory measures bite.

Infrastructure services group Kier revealed higher sales and pre-tax profit in the year to 30 June, prompting investors to mark the shares dipped 0.9% to £10.30.

Mobile satellite communications services provider Inmarsat and Panasonic Avionics struck a joint agreement for ten years to offer broadband in-flight connectivity paired with solutions and services to passengers on commercial flights. Shares in Inmarsat were flat at 496.9p.

London Southend Airport owner Stobart revealed passenger numbers at the airport rose 37% in its pre-close trading statement, the shares ticked up 0.8% to 244.5p.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Pharmaceutical company N4 Pharma crashed 37.4% to 4.1p after undertaking a strategic review on sildenafil and deciding to discontinue the development of its assets and close the generic division.

Safestyle UK said sales fell 26.6% to £60.5m in the six months to 30 June 2018 following an extremely challenging first half, however the shares rose on relief the news wasn't worse gaining 23.7% to 50p.

French Connection fell 6.2% to 47p on decline in first-half sales as growth in wholesale performance was offset by a reduced store portfolio and a 'tough' retail backdrop in the UK.

Petro Matad plummeted 22.7% to 6.1p after failing to find any oil accumulations in its Snow Leopard 1 well.

At market close:

[LON:DGE] Diageo PLC share price was +41p at 2654p

[LON:IGG] IG Group Holdings PLC share price was -84.5p at 779.5p

[LON:KIE] Kier Group PLC share price was -1p at 1039p

[LON:RIO] Rio Tinto PLC share price was +94.5p at 3817p

[LON:SKY] Sky Plc share price was 0p at 1580p



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