- Sterling surged on reports that talks between the Labour and the Conservative parties over Brexit were going well, but this failed to drag the FTSE 100 into negative territory.

At the close, the blue-chip index was up 0.2% at 7,437.

Wall Street was in a good mood as it focused on positive Chinese exports data and upbeat results from JP Morgan and Wells Fargo.

The Dow Jones gained 0.7% to 26,342 by around 4:45pm UK time.

Brent crude oil jumped 1% to $71.57 per barrel and copper climbed 2% to $2.94 per pound.


Contracts-for-difference broking house Plus500 tumbled 31.2% as its first-quarter revenue plunged 82%, owing to 'extremely subdued' trading in financial markets.

Shares in jumped 10.5% on speculation of a possible takeover by private equity.

Pets at Home dived 14.2% to 140p after shareholder Canada Pension Plan Investment Board sold its entire 10.8% stake in the company.

Entertainment One raised £130m via a discounted shares placing after the market closed on Thursday to support the acquisition of Audio Network, causing the shares to fall 5% to 453p.

Bus company National Express gained 0.5% after it announced that it had bought a 60% stake in Silicon Valley employee shuttle service WeDriveU for $84.3m.

Table top game retailer Games Workshop rallied 12.1% as it forecast a rise in annual profit amid higher royalty income.

Pest control specialist Rentokil dipped 0.2% after the Competition and Markets Authority raised concerns about its acquisition of a rival business from Mitie.

Provident Financial continued its war of word with hostile bidder Non-Standard Financial, saying that it was 'gravely concerned' that Non-Standard had not answered questions about its bid.

Provident shares declined 0.6% while Non-Standard shares were up 1.4%.


Struggling womens' fashion retailer Bonmarche dipped 5.3% after it urged its shareholders to reject an 11.445p takeover bid from billionaire Philip Day that valued the company at around £5.7m.

Mining group Tri-Star Resources fell 3.6% on news that both its chief executive and chairman were standing down.

Mobile phone games distributor Mobile Streams fell 16.7% after it announced it would cut its headcount by a 'significant' amount to offset falling revenue.

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