- The FTSE 100 took advantage of weakness in sterling after the UK government planned another Brexit-related vote for Friday.

By the close, the blue-chip index was up 0.5% at 7,234.

Disappointing US economic data weighed on Wall Street sentiment as the Dow Jones advanced only 14.6 points to 25,640 by around 5pm UK time.

News of a Competition and Markets Authority probe into the funerals sector left shares in listed funerals provider Dignity flat at 690.5p.

Brent crude oil declined 0.7% to $67.36 per barrel and gold cheapened 1.6% to $1,289 per barrel.


SSE dipped 1.4% to £12.03 as it said it expected to report a 'significant reduction' in its Wholesale business operating profit for 2018/2019 and was continuing to examine future options for its SSE Energy Services.

Online retailer Ocado accelerated 5.3% on the news that John Martin and Claudia Arney will join the board from June and September, respectively.

NMC Health rallied 3.5% to £22.70 after investment bank Barclays reaffirmed a positive outlook on the company.

British engineering company Meggitt edged 0.5% higher to 502.8p as it announced it had been awarded a contract from General Dynamics Land Systems to provide the auxiliary cooling and power system for the US Army's Abrams tank Program. The contract was worth up to $37m.

Shares in motor insurer Sabre fell 2.7% to 286p despite meeting annual targets and maintaining its combined ratio.

International Public Partnerships Limited lost 1.1% as it said pre-tax profits rose by more than fifth amid an increase in net assets.

Derwent London said the Brunel Building office space in Paddington was now fully pre-let ahead of completion of the development. The shares were unmoved at £32.10.

Northgate fell 24.7% after announcing non-executive chairman Andrew Page is stepping down, potentially following pressure from shareholder Crystal Amber.

Global Ports Investments said annual losses doubled as higher revenues were offset by a rise in dollar-denominated debt amid a weaker Russian rouble. The shares were up 4.7%.

UK oil company Premier Oil fell 1% as it said it had completed the sale of its Pakistan business - Premier Oil Pakistan Holdings - to Islamabad-based firm Al-Haj Energy for $65.6m.

Shares of Johnson Matthey advanced 2.3% as the chemical company said it had achieved two major milestones that kept it on track to advance its electric vehicle battery technology.

Outsourcing and energy services firm Mitie Group dropped 7.2%, paring earlier heavier losses, even as it said it expected to see an increase in full year operating profit as its transformation programme continued to make 'steady progress' despite a challenging backdrop.


UK logistics group Eddie Stobart climbed 1.4% after the firm said annual profits doubled as revenue grew by more than a third.

Digital music solutions company 7digital jumped 10% to 1.1p after it announced it had signed an initial one-year contract with Dubset Media providing access to the company's music platform.

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