Source - SMW
The FTSE bounced back from its weak performance earlier this week thanks to a rally in the housebuilding sector and gains in British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines (IAG).

International Consolidated Airlines was one of the biggest blue chip risers, flying 1% higher to 642p.

Berkeley (BKG) jumped 1.8% to £39, with Taylor Wimpey (TW.) and Persimmon (PSN) chasing its peers higher, up 1.1% apiece.

The FTSE 100 traded 0.3% higher at 7,541 around midday. 

The UK unemployment rate remained static at 4.3% in the quarter to August, according to the Office for National Statistics.

This failed to lift sterling in a volatile week for the currency as inflation continued to rise.

Brent crude oil was up 0.9% at $58.39 per barrel. Copper fell 0.6% to $3.16 per pound and gold was unmoved at $1,283 per ounce. 

OVERSEAS MARKETS

Strong profit forecasts at healthcare firms United Health and Johnson & Johnson helped the Dow Jones gain 0.2% overnight.

MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Rio Tinto (RIO) announced it was fined approximately £27.4m by the Financial Conduct Authority for breaching disclosure and transparency rules over its Mozambique mining assets. Investors overlooked the news as the stock dipped 1.5% to £36.54.

The miner also announced the US Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint in relation to its disclosures about the assets.

Elsewhere in the mining sector, BHP Billiton (BLT) maintained all production and unit cost guidance for the 2018 financial year. The share price was static at £14.06 in response.

Nurofen owner Reckitt Benckiser (RB.) had a mild headache after like-for-like net sales fell by 1% in the third quarter amid challenging trading conditions. Its share price was down 1.4% at £69.30.

DS Smith (SMDS) ticked up 3% to 486p on an agreements to acquire EcoPack and EcoPaper for €208m.

There was bad news from Nostrum Oil and Gas (NOG) as it announced its new gas plant GTU3 will not bring in gas this year. Two other gas plants will be shut down for a short period of time in the fourth quarter, which dragged the stock 3.1% lower to 392.6p.

Hochschild Mining (HOC) was on track to hit its 37 million silver equivalent ounces target for the year following record production levels in the third quarter. The update excited the market as the shares jumped 4.8% to 232.1p.

IT infrastructure provider Softcat (SCT) rallied 4.8% to 460.5p after the company hiked its final dividend amid a large rise in annual revenue, driven by new customer wins.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Gold explorer Sula (SULA) said it is exploring the potential 'to bring one or more additional assets into the company's portfolio', sparking a share price rally of 12.5% to 0.09p.

Hilton Food Group (HFD) declined 0.6% to 330.9p after agreeing to acquire chilled UK fish processor Icelandic Group for £80.8m in cash.

Flybe (FLYB) struggled to take off following a profit warning in the first half of its financial year due to higher than expected costs. The stock flew 14.8% lower to 37.4p.

Estate agent Foxtons (FOXT) revealed a 'resilient performance' in its third quarter to 30 September, helping the stock rise 4.9% to 76.5p. The firm said downward pressure on rents across the market was partially offset by 'a modest growth in volumes.'

Nearly a fifth of engineer group Chamberlin's (CMH) value was wiped off after the company said is underlying profits would now be in line with the prior year due to production issues affecting its margins.

Property regeneration specialist U&I (UAI) was stable at 186.7p on news that its investment portfolio value was flat during the six months to 31 August.