StockMarketWire.com - The FTSE 100 closed more or less flat at 5,945.52 as investors paused for breath after days of speculation over the health of US president Donald Trump.

On Wall Street, stocks largely held on to the gains achieved yesterday following Trump's return to the White House from hospital. At 4.30pm UK time the S&P 500 was down a handful of points at 3,402.55.

The pound was volatile against other major currencies amid signs the EU planned to ignore an ultimatum from the UK on Brexit compromises.

Luxury watch and jewellery retailer Watches of Switzerland soared 25% to 415.5p after it upgraded its annual revenue and margin guidance following a bumper second quarter of its financial year.

Revenue for the year through April was now expected to between £880 million and £910 million, up from previous guidance of £840 million-to-£860 million, with operating margins edging higher.

Heavily indebted oil company Premier Oil was up 3.2% to 15.7p, paring earlier largeer gains, as it said it had agreed to a reverse takeover deal with Chrysaor that would see its shares continue to be listed in London.

The merger would see the combined company become the largest independent oil and gas producer in the UK North Sea, with combined output at 30 June of over 250,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Falkland Islands oil explorer Rockhopper rose 31.1% to 6.36p on hopes this would result in progress on the Sea Lion discovery on which it is partnered with Premier.

Mining giant BHP fell 1.5% to £16.28 on revealing that it would acquire Hess Corporation's 28% stake in Shenzi, a development in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, for $505 million.

The acquisition, expected to close by December, would bring BHP's working interest in Shenzi to 72% and add around 11,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day of production.

Plastics manufacturer Victrex fell 1.5% to £18.93, having warned that its annual revenue would slide 10% and that it was planning to cut 100 jobs.

At the same time, Victrex said it would reinstate its 2020 dividend, citing a healthy cash position.

Iron-ore pellet producer Ferrexpo slipped 3.5% to 168p after its third-quarter output dropped 12% following maintenance activity.

Ferrexpo also announced that it had lost an appeal in a Ukrainian court against a ruling restricting the sale of its assets there.

Precious metal miner Polymetal International reversed 2.3% to £16.53 following news that it had approved construction of the $80 million Kutyn project in far eastern Russia.

Conventional open-pit mining would commence with pre-stripping in the third quarter of 2021, with first ore mined in the first quarter of 2022.

Wagamama and Frankie & Benny's owner Restaurant Group jumped 5.1% to 57.4p, even as it booked a deeper first-half loss after the pandemic crimped sales and it permanently shuttered outlets as part of a sweeping restructure.

On a more positive note, Restaurant Group said its post-lockdown trading performance was 'very encouraging' with Wagamama like-for-like sales up 11% and pub sales up 14% in the 11 weeks from 4 July.

Polling and data group YouGov added 2.8% to 930p as it hiked its dividend after booking a rise in underlying annual profit, driven by higher sales in the UK and US markets.

YouGov declared a full-year dividend of 5p per share, up 25% year-on-year.


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