Source - SMW
The FTSE 100 defied subdued trading in the US and Asia ahead of the UK general election on Thursday thanks to a rally in banking stocks.

The blue-chip index advanced 0.2% to 7,540.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) was up 2.5% to 258p after it settled a dispute with shareholders on Tuesday.

Lloyds (LLOY) was marked 1.8% higher to 70.1p and Barclays (BARC) advanced 1.4% to 212.4p.

Miners were also on a roll as Antofagasta (ANTO) and Anglo American (AAL) sparked 0.8% and 1.1% to 793.5p and £10.56, respectively.

Brent crude oil slid 0.5% to $49.84 per barrel and gold cheapened 0.2% to $1,291 per ounce. 

Copper was stable at $5,599 per tonne. 

OVERSEAS MARKETS

Investors were cautious ahead of former FBI director James Comey's testimony. Comey was investigating whether links between the Trump administration and Russia before he was fired by the President last month.

The S&P 500 closed 0.3% down at 2,429 on Tuesday.

Asian markets were also subdued with the exception of China's SSE Composite, up 1.2% at 3,140, on Wednesday.

FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS

Investors were not impressed by AstraZeneca's (AZN) decision to seal a deal with Grunenthal for global rights to migraine drug Zomig outside of Japan for $200m. Shares in the pharma giant retreated 1.2% to £52.88.

FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS

Among the mid-caps, plastic products designer RPC (RPC) failed to impress the market despite a 77% increase in operating profit. Shares in the company fell 2.3% to 832p.

A 40% hike in the dividend by real estate investment trust Workspace (WKP) won over the market who dismissed lower pre-tax profit due to a smaller uplift in property valuation. The stock gained 2.5% to 861.5p on the results.

Details of a share buyback programme pushed BGEO (BGEO) 1.6% higher to £36.29. The company used to be called Bank of Georgia.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Beef and chicken retailer Zambeef (ZAM) continued to struggle this year as a challenging economy in Zambia and sharp drop in commodity prices hit performance. The company said its first half pre-tax profit plummeted from $6.8m a year ago to $590,000. Investors ran for the exit as the stock crashed by 23.2% to 14.2p.

Cheap shoe flogger Shoe Zone (SHOE) reported a statutory pre-tax profit of £0.3m in its first half, down from £1.9m thanks to a weaker sterling against the dollar. The stock fell 4% to 179.9p.

Less people drinking Blavod vodka in Eastern European sparked concern for alcohol seller Distil (DIS). Investors overlooked a maiden full year profit of £10,000, up from a loss of £98,000 as the stock fell 6% to 3.2p.

It was a good day for pipe solutions manufacturer Tricorn (TCN) as it shares were up 5.3% to 20p. The holding company beat profit expectations and successfully completed its consolidation of Chinese operations.

In the healthcare sector, shares in LiDCO (LID) sparked 12.5% higher to 8.5p on approval for its haemodynamic monitoring platform LiDCOunity by the US Food and Drug Administration.