London midday: Stocks edge higher at the end of busy week
London stocks were edging higher by midday on Friday, with the blue-chip index chugging towards the intraday high hit in the previous session.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.3% to 7,434.63, just shy of the intraday high of 7,440 reached on Thursday, with banks providing some upside. RBS was boosted by an upgrade to 'buy' at Natixis.
IG's Joshua Mahony said: "Yesterday’s record close for the FTSE highlights that it has been a particularly positive week for UK stocks, which enjoyed a substantial boost in the wake of the Dutch election and FOMC meeting."
Investors will also be looking to the start of the Group of 20 meeting in Baden-Baden, Germany, with the focus likely to be on US President Trump's intentions when it comes to global trade.
In corporate news, property group Berkeley rallied as it said full year pre-tax profits are expected to be at the top end of analysts' expectations, with the actual outturn dependent upon completion timing on Berkeley's larger developments.
Prudential was on the front foot after being upgraded to ‘neutral’ by JP Morgan Cazenove, while Weir Group benefited from an upgrade by Barclays.
Stockbroker Panmure Gordon rocketed after agreeing to be bought by Atlas Merchant Capital - the private equity firm of former Barclays boss Bob Diamond - and Qatari investment vehicle QInvest for around £15.5m in cash.
Manager and developer of student accommodation, Unite Students, nudged higher after acquiring an asset under development in Durham for £34m.
The FTSE 250 was marginally lower, led by Tullow Oil, which slumped after announcing plans to carry out a £607m rights issue at a 45% discount to its last closing price as it feels it is the "right time to get our balance sheet in order".
Hochschild Mining also retreated after its chairman, Eduardo Hochschild, sold almost £42m worth of stock.
Among the blue chips, AstraZeneca ticked lower on news that US regulators have rejected its new drug for high potassium levels.
Amec Foster Wheeler edged down even though it was awarded a contract with the US Air Force Civil Engineer Center to sustain and improve Air Force and other US Department of Defense installations worldwide.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 246.40p 2.41%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 860.00p 1.90%
Barclays (BARC) 233.05p 1.57%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 542.50p 1.50%
Convatec Group (CTEC) 259.80p 1.48%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,936.00p 1.47%
Prudential (PRU) 1,779.00p 1.45%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 2,146.00p 1.35%
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 2,244.00p 1.31%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,017.00p 1.29%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Old Mutual (OML) 223.40p -1.46%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 329.50p -1.41%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 990.00p -1.30%
Severn Trent (SVT) 2,358.00p -1.05%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 767.00p -0.97%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 2,170.00p -0.91%
Next (NXT) 3,875.00p -0.87%
GKN (GKN) 370.90p -0.80%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 7,045.00p -0.77%
Mediclinic International (MDC) 767.00p -0.71%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 3,139.00p 5.94%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,933.00p 3.09%
Clarkson (CKN) 2,897.00p 2.73%
AO World (AO.) 149.90p 2.67%
Marshalls (MSLH) 347.40p 2.33%
Bellway (BWY) 2,813.00p 1.96%
International Personal Finance (IPF) 173.80p 1.94%
Brown (N.) Group (BWNG) 211.50p 1.93%
Savills (SVS) 877.50p 1.68%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,002.00p 1.47%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Tullow Oil (TLW) 200.00p -15.72%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 269.70p -7.45%
Balfour Beatty (BBY) 261.10p -3.87%
Investec (INVP) 603.00p -2.58%
Go-Ahead Group (GOG) 1,719.00p -1.88%
Nostrum Oil & Gas (NOG) 486.60p -1.86%
Pets at Home Group (PETS) 182.40p -1.62%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 248.20p -1.51%
Acacia Mining (ACA) 476.90p -1.34%
Vectura Group (VEC) 152.90p -1.23%