- The FTSE 100 was down 0.25% to 7,218.37 by midday despite gains in Asia overnight on trade hopes. A resilient showing from sterling contributed to the weak performance of the index.

In company news trainer retailer Footasylum soared 54.3% to 44.75p after JD Sports confirmed that it had acquired an 8.3% stake in the company and could raise its holding to 29.9%.

JD Sports said it made the move for 'investment purposes' and was not intending to make full a takeover bid.


Consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser gained 4.7% to £62.99 as it hit the top end of its annual sales guidance, supporting a rise in underlying earnings.

The company behind Nurofen and Strepsils also forecast 3% to 4% growth in like-for-like sales in 2019.

Bottling firm Coca-Cola HBC was flat at £25.61 on news that it had acquired Serbia-based confectionery business Bambi from funds advised by Mid Europa Partners for €260m.

Specialist engineering firm Spirax-Sarco Engineering said it had entered into exclusive negotiations to acquire Thermocoax Developpement from Chequers Capital, TCR Capital and other minority shareholders for €158m (£139m). Its shares gained 0.3% to £67.00.

Educational publisher Pearson shed 0.9% to 912.4p on announcing that it had sold its US school textbooks business to Nexus Capital Management for $250m.


Convenience store owner McColl's Retail jumped 11% to 56.2p, despite its profit more than halving, as it posted a positive turnaround in like-for-like sales growth in the first quarter of the current year.

Petra Diamonds rallied 6% to 28.25p as its first-half losses narrowed, it reiterated its annual output guidance and it announced that chief executive Johan Dippenaar would stand down.

Flooring company Victoria slipped 13%, despite forecasting higher annual earnings, as it also warned that prioritising market share had put pressure on its margins and produced 2019 guidance short of consensus forecasts.

Fishing tackle and equipment retailer Angling Direct gained 0.7% to 73p as it forecast its annual revenue to rise by more than third, as international sales nearly doubled.

Oil and gas engineering services business Plexus Holdings fell 8.3% to 44.9p on warning its annual earnings would miss market expectations, due to lower margins and higher overheads.

Antibiotic developer Motif Bio slumped 26.8% to 7.4p after it announced that it would need to raise capital, having made an early debt repayment to Hercules Capital. Story provided by