- The FTSE 100 took advantage of a fall in sterling after legal advice from attorney general Geoffrey Cox suggested the concessions Theresa May received from the EU did not remove the risk of being stuck in the backstop.

Speculation that May is heading for defeat on her Brexit deal when MPs vote later mounted through the course of the afternoon.

At close, the blue-chip index was up 0.3% at 7,151.

In the US, the major indicies enjoyed positive momentum with the exception of the Dow Jones, which declined 0.4% to 25,554 at around 4:45pm UK time.

Brent crude oil was up 0.3% at $66.78 per barrel.


Shares in security services provider G4S fell 2.1% to 203.8p after 2018 earnings were down 65% on a £100m charge to settle a lawsuit in California brought by security guards.

Domino's Pizza pared early losses to rise 0.7%, despite a poor international performance sending its profits south. The company also said it expected to open fewer new stores this year, though it raised its dividend by 5.6%.

Shares in Equiniti fell 7.9% to 186.9p after warning uncertainty in its operating environment is expected to continue.

Wealth management group Quilter added 8.3% to 143p on booking a rise in adjusted annual profit, as it improved is operating margins and experienced positive net inflows into its funds.

Fertilizer project developer Sirius Minerals jumped 7.8% to 19.3p after it revealed that it had been approached by a 'major global financial institution' with an alternative, and more attractive, funding proposal.

Oil producer Cairn Energy fell 4% to 167.7p as it swung to a deep annual loss owing to asset write downs.

Auto dealer Pendragon turned around from earlier losses to trade 1.5% to 26.8p despite swinging to an annual loss. The company wrote down the value of its assets to the tune of £95.8m, while car sales fell.

Online gambling group 888 gained 2.5% to 166.7p after it booked a rise in annual profit, though it lowered its dividend amid lower sales.

Computer services provider Computacenter added 6.4% as its annual adjusted earnings rose on the back of higher sales.

Merchant banking group Close Brothers reported a decline in first half profits amid 'difficult market conditions' in its asset management and brokerage arm. Its shares nevertheless rose 1.1%.


Fashion retailer French Connection fell 2.3% to 41.4p despite returning to underlying profit. The company continued to grapple with a 'tough' retail environment as like-for-like-sales slipped 6.8%.

Recruiter Staffline gained 28.3% to 860p as its shares emerged from suspension. Investors reacting with relief as the invoicing and payroll practices, whose investigation had led the shares to be suspended, turned out to be relatively minor.

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