- Fears over the fate of Theresa May's Brexit deal and weak UK economic data hit sterling and boosted the FTSE 100 as the relative value of its overseas earnings were increased.

By midday the index of leading UK shares was up 0.76% to 7,160.39. Other global markets were also strong amid hopes of a trade deal between the US and China.


Fashion retailer Ted Baker gained 3.4% to £19.57 following news that chief executive and founder Ray Kelvin had resigned while an investigation continued into allegations of personal misconduct.

British American Tobacco gained 1.2% despite expressing its disappointment that a Canadian court had upheld a decision to award billions of dollars to smokers in Quebec.

Financial services company Aviva gained 1.6% to 438.8p as it announced that international insurance head Maurice Tulloch would become its new chief executive.

Budget carrier Ryanair was broadly flat after it flew 13% more passengers during the month of February on-year.

Manufacturing group Senior gained 2% on the back of a 17% rise in annual profit, as sales grew at both its aerospace and piping system divisions.

Flow control equipment manufacturer Rotork tumbled 3.9%, paring earlier heavier losses, despite posting a 54% rise in annual profit, as it also warned of weaker sales growth in 2019.

Plastics manufacturer Synthomer reversed 7.3% to 368.2p after investors were left disappointed with a 3.9% rise in underlying annual profit.

Online gaming company 888 shed 1.2% on announcing that it had acquired BetBright's sports betting platform for £15m.

Information business group Euromoney Institutional Investor fell 4% to £12.48 after it confirmed that Daily Mail and General Trust planned to spin off its 49% stake in the company to shareholders.

Healthcare company investor Syncona said expected to collect £254.6m in proceeds from the agreed sale of portfolio company Nightstar to Biogen for $877m. Its shares gained 2.3% on the news.

Geotechnical specialist Keller Group gained 15.5% to 641.1p, despite reporting a lower annual profit owing to write-downs and restructuring costs.

Life sciences firm Abcam was down 11% at £11.96 after its interim results and its outlook for the second half of the year fail to cheer investors.


Film insurance firm FFI Holdings fell 37.9% to 13.97p as it said contract delays and trimmed movie budgets would hit performance.

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