- UK stocks showed a sharp split in midday trade after Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed plans to ask the Queen to suspend Parliament just days after MPs return to work from their summer holiday in September.

The move is expected to tie the hands of no-deal Brexit opposition leaders to push through law to block a divorce with the EU without an agreement, sending the pound spinning lower versus both the dollar and the euro.

It also puts under the investor spotlight corporate domestic versus overseas earnings, with the international earnings-heavy FTSE 100 reversing earlier morning losses to rally 20 points higher at 7,110.03 as of 11.50am.

The UK mid cap FTSE 250 index, which is more exposed to revenues earned in the UK, slumped sharply in contrast, falling close on 140 point to 19,198.51.


Emerging events from Downing Street completely overshadowed an otherwise quiet day for major company news, although investors continued to fret about the frosty state of trade relations between the US and China and local tobacco companies were hit by rival merger talks.

British American Tobacco and Imperial Brands both posted modest declines after US rival Philip Morris announced merger talks to reunite with previous spin-off Altria. BAT slipped 0.2% to £28.255 while Imperial was off 0.8% at £20.445.

Struggling travel company Thomas Cook dropped 15% to 6.55p after it agreed key terms of a rescue deal with China's Fosen and its debt holders that could see its shares delisted.

Fosen agreed to pay £450m for 75% of the company's tour operator unit and 25% of its airline, while lenders would provide another £450m converting existing debt into 75% of the airline and 25% of the tour operator.

Oil services group Petrofac lost 2.7% to 395p, despite swinging to a first-half profit, after it said its order intake had been hurt amid a Serious Fraud Office probe into its contract dealings in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

Petrofac also warned that its revenue would fall next year.

Marine contractor James Fisher and Sons fell 4.2% to £20.35 after it booked a 3% fall in first-half profit, owing to a slow start to the year at its marine support business.

Fashion retailer Ted Baker nudged 0.5% higher to 966.5p, on announcing that it had agreed to an exclusive licence deal in Japan with Sojitz Infinity.

Book and convenience retailer WH Smith lost 1.5% to £19.62 after it said its travel business continued to grow 'strongly' in the year through August, with sales improvements recorded across all of its channels.

Its weaker high street business, meanwhile, performed as expected, with cost savings and margin improvements delivered to plan, the company added.

AstraZeneca added 1% to £73.09 as it revealed positive results from a clinical trial of a treatment combination for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


Specialised technical product supplier Diploma gained 1% to £15.66 after if forecast a 13% rise in annual revenue, coupled with an improvement in operating margins.

Online education group Wey Education rallied 12.5% to 10.15p on announcing that its annual adjusted profits would be 'at least' in line with expectations following a jump in revenue.

President Energy slumped 14% to 5.4p, having deferred its 2019 drilling campaign in Argentina after the government introduced caps on fuel prices.

Spend management group Proactis shed NEARLY 8% to 47p after issuing a trading update that spelled out a difficult period for the company. On a brighter note, Proactis did reveal that it had received a number of early expressions of interest from a formal sales process of the company in July.

Proactis also said it expected its revenue for the year through July to rise to £54.1m, up from £52.2m, but its adjusted EBITDA to fall to £15m, down from £17.3m.

Satellite broadband reseller BigBlu Broadband saw its share price nudge 0.5% up to 104p after an update showed growing revenues, profits and recurring income streams, although cash conversion remains in need of improvement.

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