- Increasing fears over a no deal Brexit as an EU summit got underway heaped pressure on sterling and conversely helped support a strong rise for the FTSE 100. By the close the index of leading UK shares was up 0.9% at 7,355.31.

Earlier in the day the Bank of England voted to keep interest rates on hold. In the US, the S&P 500 was 0.8% higher at 2,847.54 after the US Federal Reserve opted to keep rates unchanged overnight.

Housebuilder Crest Nicholson's shares fell 8.9% as JP Morgan Cazenove cut its price target on the stock from 440p to 400p. Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland closed down 6.1% as it traded ex-dividend.


Shares in Renishaw fell 11.2% to £37.30 on a profit warning after flagging a slowdown in demand in Asia for its encoder products and from large end-user manufacturers of consumer electronic products is expected to continue for the rest of the financial year.

Fashion retailer Next revealed online sales surged 14.8% while retail revenue declined 7.3% in the year ending January 2019. Shares in Next recovered earlier losses to trade 2.6% higher at £53.16.

Quirky British brand Ted Baker fell 6.4% to £16.01 after pre-tax profit declined 26.1% to £50.9m in the year to 26 January, causing the shares to shed 4.8% to £16.28.

Video game seller Game Digital revealed a 20% jump in pre-tax profit, but the shares dipped 5.3%, suggesting this had already been priced in.

IG Group said third quarter revenues fell by more than 10% as a regulatory clampdown on derivative products continued to stifle new client growth, pushing the stock 6% lower to 515p.

Shares in health and environmental tech group Halma were broadly unmoved at £16.70 despite it announcing that annual adjusted pre-tax profits are set to meet market expectations amid strong growth in its US and UK businesses.

Defence firm Chemring warned first half results may be affected by operational disruption at some sites, prompting the shares to fall 1%.

Shares in housebuilder Persimmon dropped 2.4% to £21.60 after revealing a customer care improvement plan, which may have an impact on profits.


Betting technology specialist Sportech announced sales fell 3.9% to £63.7m and adjusted earnings rose 18.8% to £8m in the year ending 31 December 2018. The stock declined 2.1% to 38.2p.

A profit warning from agricultural supplies group Wynnstay, blaming warm weather and Brexit, caused the share price to plummet 21.4% to 332p.

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