StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks traded sideways on Wednesday after opinion polls showed Labour gaining ground ahead of Thursday's national election, putting pressure on the pound and sending domestic-facing stocks lower.

The Conservative party is still ahead in opinion polls, but recent gains by Labour have stoked fears of a hung parliament and prolonged Brexit uncertainty.

At midday the benchmark FTSE 100 index was flat at 7,212 while the FSTE 250 mid-cap index, which better reflects the UK economy, was 1% lower at 20,565.

Miners such as Anglo American, Fresnillo and Rio Tinto were among the top gainers on the FTSE while real estate and house building firms were among the main losers.

Shares in auto services group AA jumped 12% to 48.8p after it confirmed that the 'positive momentum' seen in the first half of the year had continued into the second half, keeping the company on track to meet its full-year expectations.

Heavy equipment firm Northbridge Industrial Services gained 5.1% to 121p after five currently loss-making contracts awarded to Malaysian joint venture partner Olio Resources were extended for a further two years, on improved terms.

Train and bus transport company Stagecoach advanced 1.8% to 128p as it swung to a first-half profit after selling its struggling US coach business.

The company's sales fell by about a fifth and it kept its dividend flat, although adjusted pre-tax profits from continuing operations improved.

Over-50's services provider Saga dipped 0.5% to 47.2p after announcing that it had appointed former Superdry boss Euan Sutherland as its new chief executive.

Shares in Edinburgh Investment Trust shed 1.2% to 597p as it replaced its investment manager following what it called 'very disappointing' first-half results that saw returns fell short of its benchmark for a third straight year.

Responsibility for managing the fund will pass from Invesco to rival firm Majedie in three months' time.

Online trading brokerage IG fell 2% to 666p, having appointed Robert Michael McTighe as its new chairman. McTighe has previously served in executive roles at Cable and Wireless, Philips, Motorola and GE.

Business software provider Sopheon sank 9.5% to 638p as it forecast a fall in full-year revenue, despite an improvement in the second half compared to the first.

Rosslyn Data Technologies dropped 15% to 5p after reiterating that it had a slow start to the financial year amid contract delays.




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