StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks rallied mid afternoon on increasing hopes of a breakthrough in Brexit talks and solid earnings reports from US investment bank J.P. Morgan.

Sterling rallied by 1.3% to 1.28 against the dollar. Large cap UK banks and value stocks saw gains in the afternoon including RBS up 5.07% to 226.1p and Barratt developments up 5.14% to 683p.

At 1639, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 1.81 points, at 7,211.64.

Homebuilder Bellway fell 2.58% to £34.02, even as reported a 3.4% rise in annual profit buoyed by higher unit sales and house prices.

The company, however, warned of margin pressure in the current financial year amid a rise in costs.

Recruitment company Hays gained 8.42% to 155.8p after it eked out a 1% rise in first-quarter net fee revenue thanks to a strong showing in the US and Asia.

Pub company Marston's dropped 7.38% to 113p as it warned of a fall in annual underlying profit and a flat result for the current financial year owing to increased spending on its properties.

Drug company Indivior rallied 3.5% to 51.12p on upgrading its full-year profit outlook, as sales of its opioid addiction treatment fared better than expected despite competition from generics.

Molten metal flow engineering and technology group Vesuvius shed 17.2% to 342.2p, as it warned of a fall in annual earnings amid a challenging trading environment.

Bingo company Rank rose 6.14% to 211p on announcing that its net gaming revenue rose 9% in the first quarter, led by strong sales at its Grosvenor casino business.

Metrology and healthcare technology group Renishaw slid 7.1% to 3,308p as its profits fell sharply in the first quarter, due to lower order numbers and a challenging macroeconomic environment.

Patent law firm Murgitroyd fell 5.19% to 640p, as it confirmed that it was was in advanced discussions regarding a potential takeover of the company by Sovereign Capital Partners, pitched at 675p per share.

The company's share price had already rallied previously in anticipation of a deal.

Consultancy firm Science Group added 0.78% to 194p, despite warning that the annual performance at recently-acquired business Frontier Smart Technologies would be lower than it had expected.

Luxury furniture and interior design company Walker Greenbank extended its gains to finish up 8.46% to 80.8p. Earlier it booked a 10% fall in first-half profit owing one-off acquisition and restructuring costs.

Sales and underlying profit both rose, though the company cut its dividend.

Building services provider Northern Bear gained 1.45% to 70p, even as it warned of a fall in first-half earnings.

The company, however, also said it experiencing improved trading conditions in the second quarter.


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