- The FTSE 100 was up 0.6% by midday, back above the 7,200 mark as hopes of progress in US and China trade talks helped the mining sector rally.

The optimism looked to be shared across the Atlantic where US futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street where focus is also likely to fall on investors' reaction to the huge loss posted by food producer Kraft Heinz after the market close last night.


Cheese and butter manufacturer Dairy Crest agreed to be taken over by Canadian dairy processor Saputo in a deal worth £975m or 620p per share. Its shares advanced 12.8% to 626p.

Subprime lender Provident Financial rose 9.9% to 562.1p after it received a £1.3bn share-based takeover bid from rival Non Standard Finance.

Challenger bank Metro Bank gained 4.6% to £13.64 on news that it had won £120m in funding from Banking Competition Remedies, a vehicle set up by the UK government and European Union and funded by Royal Bank of Scotland.

Fellow lender CYBG went in the opposite direction, shedding 5.2% to 187.1p, after confirming that it missed out on the funding.

Educational publisher Pearson was flat after it booked a lower annual operating profit that nevertheless landed in the upper half of its guidance range. It targeted a return to revenue growth in 2020.

Power utility Centrica gained 0.9% after announcing that it had renewed a series of debt facilities worth a combined £4.2bn with 21 banks. The company's shares fell heavily after a disappointing earnings result on Thursday.

Theme-park group Merlin Entertainments said it had sold its Hotham and Falls Creek Australian ski resorts Vail Resorts for A$174m (£95m). Its shares dipped 0.3% lower.


Struggling UK carrier Flybe fell 27% to 1.5p as it completed the sale of its businesses to the Connect Air consortium involving Virgin Atlantic and Stobart for just £2.8m. Stobart gained 0.5%.

Advanced materials company Haydale Graphene plunged 76% as its first-half losses widened and it launched a discounted share issue to raise £3.8m.

Entertainment marketing communications group Reach4entertainment gained 7.8% to 1.35p on news that it agreed to acquire advertising agency Agency Press for up to £10m, and had launched a £3m share issue to help fund the deal.

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