- Miners and weakness in the pound reflecting Brexit concerns kept the FTSE 100 above the 7,000 mark around midday.

Investors are concerned over UK Prime Minister Theresa May's ability to seal a deal for an orderly exit from the EU as the Irish border remains an issue.

Among the miners, Evraz, Rio Tinto and Glencore enjoyed the biggest gains of at least 1.8% each.

Brent crude oil slid 0.4% to $81.11 per barrel.


Shares in private hospital operator Mediclinic crashed 18.9% to 385.1p as earnings came under pressure after its Swiss subsidiary Hirslanden struggled with weak inpatient admission growth.

Housebuilder Barratt Developments enjoyed a strong start to its new financial year thanks to robust housing demand. The stock dipped 0.6% to 510.8p.

Shares in rival Crest Nicholson went in the opposite direction, down 4.8% at 307.4p, after reducing its annual profit guidance amid higher costs and subdued sales in the South East and London. The housebuilder said annual pre-tax profit will be between £170m and £190m.

IT infrastructure specialist Softcat reversed 9.9% to 713p on concerns over political and economic uncertainty that could hit trading. Investors overlooked a 35% surge in annual profit, driven by more customers and cross-selling products.

Education publishing firm Pearson revealed a better performance in most of its division helped to offset weakness in its US higher education division. Shares in Pearson were up 2.6% at 838.6p.

Online fashion retailer ASOS beat profit forecasts and announced it is 'huge' potential for the business, sparking a 15% rally to £57.50.


Resources company Berkeley Energia plummeted 44.7% to 13p on reports the Spanish government will not deliver permits for its uranium mine.

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