The FTSE 100 recovered from earlier falls as positive retail sales data and expectations the Bank of England will leave interest rates on hold buoyed sentiment. The blue chip index advanced 0.2% to 6,688. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil rose 0.5% to 43.81 and Brent crude oil gained 0.8% to $46.23 per barrel, respectively. Food retailers rose in response to Morrisons' impressive results, with Tesco (TSCO) and Sainsburys (SBRY) gaining up to 3.4%. MAIN NEWS OF THE DAY In August, UK retail sales increased by 6.2% compared with August 2015, with the main contribution from food stores. Bradford-based grocer Morrisons (MRW) made fresh gains as underlying pre-tax profit grew 11% to £157 million in the first half, with 2% like-for-like sales growth in the second quarter. This marked a third consecutive positive quarter in deflationary market conditions. Business information group Informa (INF) revealed its plan to buy Penton Information Services for £1.2 billion, which would expand its exhibitions operations and boost its presence in the US. Fashion retailer Next (NXT) became one of the biggest blue-chip fallers as profit before tax was down 1.5% to £342.1 million due to subdued trading in July. The company also flagged a forthcoming sales hit, as higher cost prices were caused by a weaker pound. MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS Enhanced annuity provider JRP (JRP) jumped 17% higher to 113.8p as operating profit in the six months to 30 June beat expectations, due to the merger between Just Retirement and Partnership Assurance in April. UK food wholesaler Booker (BOK) posted a good second quarter of sales at its stores Budgens and Londis. Investors were relaxed about declining tobacco sales, which were affected by a ban on small stores displaying these products. Electronic equipment distributor Electrocomponents (ECM) climbed 12.3% after delivering solid organic sales progress and revenue, which was aided by a return to growth in North America. Oil and gas company EnQuest (ENQ) failed to agree a deal to sell an interest in the Kraken development to Delek. SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS Engineer Redhall (RHL) accelerated 15.7% to 10.13p following the government's approval for the Hinkley Point nuclear power project. Crawshaw (CRAW) warned of reduced like-for-like sales in its first half as a result of international football, adverse weather and Brexit vote. In a downbeat trading update, the firm said conditions remained difficult and is trying restore sales momentum. Investors jumped ship, causing the stock to crash 43.5% to 41.5p. Multimedia content solutions provider Immedia's (IME) subsidiary, AVC Immedia, won new contracts to supply FIFA with its Matchviewer tool, boosting its share price by 11.1% to 35p. Purplebricks (PURP) was in positive territory after reporting encouraging trading and 'little discernible impact' following the Brexit vote. Its market share in the online estate agency market strengthened to 65% this month. Engineer Ricardo (RCDO) rose 11.1% on optimistic results that reported a 44% increase in pre-tax profit to £33 million as revenue jumped by nearly a third. Powerflute (POWR) sparked 20.8% to 89.13p after receiving a takeover offer from investment funds advised by Madison Dearborn Partners. Investors were disappointed with Global Energy Development's (GED) widening operating loss of $2.8m and declining revenues, causing the firm to trade 11.6% lower. Financial services provider Fairpoint (FRP) dropped 13% after exceptional costs and amortisation hit its pre-tax profit, which declined by half a million in the first half of the year. Windows and doors provider Safestyle UK (SFE) said half-year pre-tax profit before tax increased by nearly 10% to £9.5 million, which was driven by a rise in average unit prices. Asiamet Resources (ARS) said its feasibility studies on the Beruang Kanan Main copper deposit in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia was going well as it demonstrates excellent continuity of shallow copper mineralisation.
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