- Having made initially made gains in response to Theresa May's new Brexit offer to MPs, the pound headed lower as it appeared this offer was likely to fall on deaf ears.

This is helping to support the FTSE 100, as it flatters the relative value of the overseas earnings which dominate the index, and by midday it was up 0.4% to 7,359.56.

UK inflation came in above the Bank of England's target at 2.1% but below the 2.2% consensus forecast. Elsewhere steelmaker British Steel fell into administration as a rescue package from the Government was not forthcoming.

Packaging stocks were in demand Smurfit Kappa up 5.4% and Mondi up 5% after the latter told customers that the prices of recycled containerboard and kraft top liner will be increased by €60 a tonne in June and July on reduced stock levels and rising demand


Marks and Spencer dropped 5.8% after it posted lower underlying profits and confirmed it would issue new shares in the company at a deep discount to help pay for its joint venture with Ocado.

Royal Mail gained 6.6% despite posting annual profits at the bottom end of its guidance range.

The company also re-based its dividend to 15p and outlined a five-year turnaround strategy designed to improve margins.

Power utility SSE reversed 1.9% after it booked a large drop in annual adjusted profit, as earnings fell at both its retail and wholesale divisions.

Bovis Homes shed 1.2%, despite the housebuilder reporting a rise in year-to-date sales rates.

Soft drink company Britvic dipped 0.7% despite sales of low and no-sugar drinks helping boost its annual profit.

Veterinary services and pet product supplier Pets at Home Group rallied 10.9%, despite booking a 38% fall in annual profit owing to it buying out under-performing joint venture practices. Underlying profit, however, rose by a better-than-expected 6.1%.

Fashion retailer Superdry jumped 10.4% on news that it had poached Wiggle's finance head Nick Gresham to its interim chief financial officer.

Babcock International sank 7.3% after the defence contractor booked a slump in pre-tax profits.

Specialist lender Paragon Banking fell 1.8% despite reporting an 8.7% increase in underlying profit on rising income.


Support services firm Hargreaves Services fell 14.8% as it detailed its exposure to the now insolvent British Steel, which could result in an exceptional charge of up to £9m and hit revenue in its coming financial year by around £11m and pre-tax profit by £1.3m.

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