- Having earlier struggled for direction the FTSE 100 was 0.3% higher by midday at 7,203.19. The rise supported by strength in the resources sector as China announced new stimulus measures.

US futures are pointing to a slightly lower open on Wall Street later.


Insurer Legal and General fell 4.1% as a weaker performance in its investment portfolio held annual profit growth to just 2%.

Gambling company Paddy Power Betfair fell 1.5% after it posted 11% decline in annual profit, partly owing to investment spending in its young US sports betting business. The company also kept its dividend flat and announced plans for a name change to Flutter Entertainments.

Packaging firm DS Smith (SMDS) saw its stock jump 5.3% to 367.6p after the company announced the sale of its plastics business. That deal will net the company $585m, or about £450m

Just Eat slipped 2.1%, despite swinging to an annual profit, as its earnings met its recently-downgraded guidance, amid rising competition from the likes of Uber Eats.

Defence and aerospace focused Ultra Electronics rallied 11.4%, even as it posted a 30% fall in annual profit pinned on cost overruns and 'sub-optimal' commercial processes that management pledged to improve.

Waste management firm Biffa enjoyed a 7.6% relief rally to 200p as it confirmed it would trade in line with expectations in its March 2019 financial year.

Subprime lender Provident Financial said it had substantially resolved its outstanding regulatory issues as part of its campaign to rebuff a hostile £1.3bn takeover bid from Non-Standard Finance. Its shares fell were more or less flat at 598p.

Recruitment company PageGroup rose 1.3% to 455p as it notched a 20% rise in annual profit, after a strong performance at its overseas businesses offset weakness at home in the UK.


Oil and gas plays Red Emperor Resources, Pantheon Resources and 88 Energy were up 95.2%, 17.8% and 27.8% respectively as they revealed encouraging results from the Winx-1 well in Alaska on which they are partnered.

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