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27 Mar 2019 | 12:11

FTSE 100 slips by midday as sterling strengthens

The FTSE 100 was down 0.2% to 7,180.45 by midday as the pound rose amid hopes a series of indicative votes from MPs will push the UK towards a softer Brexit.

In corporate news Debenhams jumped 52% after Sports Direct said it had proposed a takeover bid worth £61.4m for the ailing department store chain. Sports Direct rose 0.4%.


Tobacco company Imperial Brands slipped 0.9%, despite forecasting annual revenue at the upper end of its guidance range.

Bellway Homes added 2.5% after it reported an 8.7% rise in first-half profit, buoyed by higher home completions and selling prices.

AstraZeneca fell 0.7%, even as Japanese regulators approved its oral treatment for type-one diabetes.

RDI REIT rallied 11% on confirming media speculation that it had received an unsolicited takeover approach from Cromwell Property Group.

Food packing business Hilton Food surrendered earlier gains to trade down 0.2% to 938p as the acquisition in 2017 of seafood distributor Seachill helped boost its annual profit 27%.

Heat resistant materials supplier RHI Magnesita slipped 0.2% after it swung to a full-year profit, as volume growth and pricing gains propelled sales. SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Advertising group M&C Saatchi posted a 16% rise in annual profit as it won new projects from clients including Reebok, eBay and Tourism Australia. Its shares, however, fell 3.6%.

OptiBiotix Health gained 1.9% on revealing that it had entered into a three-year distribution agreement with Silv Expo for Russia and Kazakhstan.

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