- Despite the Eurozone economy doing a bit better than expected, European markets remained subdued following weak Chinese manufacturing data overnight.

By midday the FTSE 100 was down at 0.2% to 7,427.05. US futures also pointed to a slow start after results from Google parent Alphabet disappointed.


Oil giant BP gained 1.4% as its first-quarter profit fell on lower oil prices but nevertheless beat market expectations.

Miner and commodities trader Glencore shed 4% after it lowered its copper production guidance, blaming flooding in Australia's Queensland state.

Standard Chartered gained 5% after the bank announced a $1bn buyback, as it booked a 5% rise in first-quarter profit owing to fall in expenses and impairment charges.

Premier Inn hotel chain owner Whitbread fell 3.9%, despite proceeds from the sale of its Costa coffee chain underpinning a big jump in its annual profit.

The company, however, also said that demand had weakened at its remaining core hotels business, thanks to lingering Brexit uncertainty.

Prospective potash producer Sirius Minerals fell 17.9% as it announced plans to raise $400m by issuing new shares at a discount to the previous closing price to fund the development of its flagship project.

Pub group Greene King fell 7.5% after it forecast only a modest rise in annual profit, despite warmer weather boosting sales over the Easter period.

Adjusted profit was seen rising to between £244m and £247m, compared to the £243m posted a year ago, as cost inflation weighed.

Packaging company DS Smith fell 2.9%, despite announcing that it expected its margins to 'progress further' in the second half.


Gift voucher provider Park tumbled 9.3% on warning that its annual profit would be 'marginally below' market expectations.

Recruitment company Staffline said it would miss an end-of-April deadline for reporting its annual results while it reviewed its compliance with minimum wage rules. Its shares were suspended from trading.

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