- After making a strong start earlier on the FTSE 100 fell over by lunchtime. At midday the index of leading UK shares was down 0.2% at 7,475.86. Figures showed UK government debt had swelled.

Earlier investors had been buoyed by comments from New York Fed president John Williams that policymakers should consider taking fast action on interest rates rather than 'wait for disaster to unfold'.


Royal Bank of Scotland crept fell 1.1% on noting that outgoing chief executive Ross McEwan had been selected to lead National Australia Bank.

The British bank said a search for McEwan's replacement was ongoing, while confirming that he had a 12-month notice period extending to April 2020.

Television broadcaster ITV gained 0.6% after it announced that it had signed an agreement with the BBC to launch their BritBox streaming service in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Convenience store chain SSP gained 0.3% on the back of a 10% rise in third-quarter revenue, buoyed by more footfall at airports.

Self-storage company Big Yellow reversed 0.9% after it said a more muted performance at the end of last year due to Brexit uncertainty had limited growth in first-quarter revenue to 4.4%.

Merchant bank Close Bros shed 3.5% as it warned that profits in its asset management division had been affected by more subdued market conditions and ongoing investment spending.

Residential property group Grainger fell 0.7% after it said London mayor Sadiq Khan's call for a review of the city's rental market would have a 'limited effect' on its business.

Home repairs and improvements business Homeserve firmed 0.9% on reiterating that it expected to post 'strong' growth in the current financial year.


Engineering contractor Van Elle sank 2% on warning that it would miss its recently-lowered profit guidance and had experienced a quiet start to its new financial year.

Property investor Regional REIT dipped 0.2% on revealing that it had raised £62.5m from a capital raising, exceeding a £50m target set in June.

Clinical-stage biopharmaceutical Motif Bio dropped 5% after its market value slipped below a minimum threshold required for it to be listed on NASDAQ.

The company has 180 days to get back above the threshold, otherwise it will be de-listed from the US exchange.

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