StockMarketWire.com - The FTSE 100 made modest gains to take it just above the 7,100 mark by midday as mining and oil and gas shares traded higher.

Housebuilder Berkeley fell 1.4% to £45.73, even as it reported an uptick in annual profit buoyed by higher completions and selling prices in London and the South East.

Berkeley, however, also reported a contraction in its margins, citing the mix of properties sold, operating environment and investment spending.

Fund manager Liontrust Asset Management gained 0.6% to £16.40, having hiked its dividend after reporting annual profit more than doubled amid net inflows into its products.

Liontrust declared a full-year payout of 47p per share, up 42% year-on-year.

Credit hire and legal services provider Anexo rose 4.9% to 143.65p after it received a £174 million takeover approach from Dbay Advisors, at 150p per share.

Anexo had granted Dbay access to due diligence.

Insurance company Phoenix fell 3.0% to 672.51p after Swiss Re sold 6.6% of the company for £437 million, cutting its interest to 6.6% and triggering the departure of Christopher Minter from its board.

Phoenix also said that MS&AD Insurance, which owns 14.5% of the company, was expected to remain a significant shareholder.

Plastics group Synthomer shed 0.3% to 527.5p following news that it had appointed Michael Willome as its new chief executive, to replace the outgoing Calum MacLean from November.

Willome was previously CEO of Swiss-listed conglomerate Conzzeta, renamed Bystronic in May, and also had worked at industrial group Clariant.

Shared office group Workspace climbed 0.6% to 865.94p on news that it had appointed Paul Hewlett as director of strategy and corporate development.

Hewlett was currently executive director, UK investment banking at J.P. Morgan Cazenove and would join Workspace in October after completing his notice period.

Auto dealer Vertu Motors advanced 4.5% to 47.98p, having upgraded its annual earnings guidance, though it tempered its optimism with a warning of vehicle supply constraints.

Vertu's annual adjusted pre-tax profit was now expected to be above current expectations and in the range of £28 million-to-£32 million.

Litigation funder Manolete found 0.4% to 241p, despite booking a 26% drop in annual profit blamed, in part, on a UK government move to suppress insolvencies.

Manolete expressed confidence that regulatory settings would return to normal as the pandemic eases and declared a final dividend of 1p per share.

Packaging company Mondi firmed 0.3% to £18.98 on announcing a €125 million upgrade to a mill in Kuopio, Finland.

Safety company investor Marlowe added 0.4% to 850p as it swung to a full-year loss, owing to acquisition and restructuring costs, though its underlying performance improved on higher sales.

Flooring company Victoria gained 4.2% to £10.40 after it acquired Cali Bamboo for $76.1 million, expanding its existing North American distribution business.


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