- By midday the FTSE 100 had recovered earlier losses to trade 0.2% higher at 7,435.48. Sterling remained choppy after last nights agreed delay to Brexit which is seen as merely forestalling rather than averting a no-deal exit from the EU.

Airlines reacted with relief to the news the summer holiday season would not be spoiled by a the UK crashing out of the bloc, EasyJet leading the way with a 6.4% advance.

Several stocks traded ex-dividend, notably Standard Life Aberdeen which fell 4.2% to 264.2p.


Asset manager Man Group added 0.3% after it reported an increase in funds under management as a rebound in global markets since the turn of the year bolstered its investments offsetting fund outflows.

DIY Group Grafton Group climbed 3.8% after it conditionally agreed to acquire Polvo from the privately owned Pallieter Group for €131m on a debt and cash free basis.

Retailer WH Smith advanced 3.9% after it hiked its dividend 8% for the six months to February 2019 amid the company's confidence in its future prospects, the business' strong cash generative nature and the positive full-year outlook.

Miner Fresnillo fell 5.2% as it said its first-quarter production came in slightly below its expectations, but kept its full-year guidance unchanged as output was expected to improve in the second half.

Ted Baker, meanwhile, dipped 0.9% after it said it had appointed Lindsay Page as the company's CEO with immediate effect. Page had previously been finance director and acting chief executive at the group.

This came as it announced that the investigation into allegations on founder Ray Kelvin's conduct and the company's HR policies had found 'areas for improvement'.

Sports Direct added 2% as it announced it intended to start a new share buyback programme from 11 April up to and including 26 April with the aim of reducing the company's share capital.

Underlying earnings per share were in line with expectations, with higher operating costs in its US business offset by lower finance costs, National Grid said in an update to its technical guidance for 2018/2019. The stock fell 1%.


Diurnal Group climbed 1.96% after it said it planned to submit a marketing application to the European Medicines Agency for a treatment for congenital adrenal hyperplasia in the fourth quarter of this year.

Clinical development services group Hvivo slumped 7.9% after it reported wider annual losses as asset writedowns offset an increase in revenues.

Avesoro Resources dropped 8% even as it maintained its annual output guidance despite reporting gold production fell by more than a third in the first quarter.

Specialist filtration and environmental technology group Porvair gained 2.9% after it said it had made a good start to its 2019 financial year with revenue growth of 18% in the four months to 31 March and group profits in line with expectations.

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