- The FTSE 100 rose 0.2% to 7,196 despite the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development downgrading its global growth forecast for 2019 yet again.

Wall Street was under more pressure with the Dow Jones down 0.4% at 25,709 at around 4:45pm UK time.

European equities also struggled with Germany's DAX falling 0.3% to 11,588.

Brent crude oil retreated 0.6% to $65.48 per barrel.

US Food and Drug Administration head Scott Gottlieb's plans to step down were welcomed by cigarette firms British American Tobacco and Imperial Brands on the assumption his departure might ease regulations.


Insurer Legal and General fell 3.5% as a weaker performance in its investment portfolio held annual profit growth to just 2%.

Gambling company Paddy Power Betfair fell 2.6% 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 saw its stock jump 3.7% to 362.1p after the company announced the sale of its plastics business. That deal will net the company $585m, or about £450m.

Just Eat was flat at 780p despite swinging to an annual profit as its earnings met its recently downgraded guidance, amid rising competition from the likes of Uber Eats.

Broker Kepler speculated Lufthansa is potentially interested in acquiring budget airline EasyJet, helping shares in the latter rise 1.4% to £12.44.

Defence and aerospace focused Ultra Electronics rallied 12.2%, 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 7.1% relief rally to 199p 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 dipped 0.8% to 594.8p.

Recruitment company PageGroup fell 0.8% to 445.4p 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 87.9%, 22.6% and 35.1% respectively as they revealed encouraging results from the Winx-1 well in Alaska on which they are partnered.

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