- The FTSE 100 was flat at midday at 7,462.22 as several stocks traded without rights to their dividend and amid thin trading volumes.

US futures pointed to a similarly subdued session on Wall Street where the latest first quarter earnings releases from the likes of Union Pacific and American Express will be in focus.

Positive broker comment lifted equipment hire firm Ashtead which advanced 3.2%. While defence company BAE Systems was down 3.3% as it traded ex-dividend.


Unilever climbed 2.6% as it continued to expect full-year underlying sales growth to be in the lower half of its multi-year 3-5% range, it said, as it reported that underlying first-quarter sales grew 3.1%.

Price comparison website jumped 7.7% after it reported an increase in first-quarter revenue, boosted by the "exceptional" performance of the Home Services sector.

Funding Circle added 2.4% as it said revenues grew sharply as loans under management surged in the first quarter on the back of a 23% rise in originations.

Cyber security company Avast grew 4.4% as it reported a 'strong' start to the year as ongoing momentum supported an uptick in first-quarter revenues.

Rentokil rose 2% as it said it had had a 'good start' to 2019 across all its businesses as first-quarter ongoing revenue increased 8.9%, supported in particular by strong growth in its Pest Control division in both the growth and emerging markets.

Aveva rose 2.5% as it generated low double-digit revenue growth for the full year as 'positive' performance seen in the first nine months of the year continued in the fourth quarter.

Shopping centre investor Intu Properties gained 1.8% after it agreed to sell a 50% stake in its Derby shopping centre to investment firm Cale Street investments for £186.3m as part of a 50/50 joint venture joint venture agreement.

Polymetal International grew 1.1% after it reported strong gold and gold equivalent production in the first quarter of 2019 as it maintained its full-year cost guidance.

Translator RWS Holdings gained 5% after it said it remained confident of another record year as it posted record revenues for the first half of 2019, with strong performances across all of its divisions.


Oil play Angus Energy climbed 0.9% after it raised its ownership in the Lidsey licence to 80% after completing the acquisition of Doriemus' 20% stake in the licence for £467,377 in shares.

Small cap miner Galantas Gold Corporation fell 3.3% as it reported a wider first-half pre-tax loss as increased costs offset a jump in revenue.

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