StockMarketWire.com - After a tough May for the markets and difficult start to June, the FTSE 100 continues to rebuild.

Helped by comments from US Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell overnight which were seen as hinting at rate cuts, the index of leading UK shares was up 0.6% by midday at 7,257.43.

Housebuilder Barratt Developments led the list of gainers, up 4.2%, with software firm Micro Focus and cruise operator Carnival enjoying gains of 3%+ apiece.

LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLER

Sub-prime lender Provident Financial jumped 14.5% after rival Non-Standard Finance dropped its hostile takeover bid after meeting regulatory resistance. Non-Standard Finance fell 5.8%.

Greeting card and gift retailer Card Factory was flat as it notched a 6.4% rise in first-quarter sales, or a 2.3% rise on a like-for-like basis.

Financial services group Aviva dipped 1% after it announced that chief financial officer Tom Stoddard would stand down at the end of the month.

Office property investor Workspace fell 1% as it upped its dividend by 20% on higher rental income that helped boost its annual adjusted profit.

Aerospace and defence company Babcock International rose 3.2% after it set a number of medium-term targets, including generating earnings growth of 3%-to-4% and sustaining margins at around 11% over the next five years.

The company said it had also merged its naval nuclear and nuclear power businesses into one unit.

Fellow defence contractor Chemring gained 1.5% as it swung to a first-half profit, but reiterated that its full-year performance would be second-half weighed.

Bus and train company Go-Ahead gained 3.5% on announcing that Elodie Brian had been appointed as chief financial officer on a permanent basis.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Wagering company Webis climbed 3.7% after it renewed a contract with the Hong Kong Jockey Club for three years.


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