Source - SMW
The FTSE 100 was supported by gains in mining and utility stocks, closing 0.6% higher at 7,213.

Higher gold prices lifted shares in miners Randgold Resources (RRS) by 4.8% to £63.86 and Fresnillo (FRES) by 4.6% to £13.29.

Utility stock United Utilities (UU.) sparked 0.8% higher to 669.2p and National Grid (NG.) advanced 1% to 744.2p.

Brent crude oil was up 0.4% at $63 per barrel. Gold rallied 1.5% to $1,348 per ounce and copper was flat at $3.15 per pound. 

OVERSEAS MARKETS

US equities were resilient despite inflation increasing more than expected. The bigger than expected build in prices could fuel concerns that interest rates might be hiked more aggressively this year.

The S&P 500 rose 0.4% to 2,675 around 4:45pm UK time.

MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Rare diseases specialist Shire (SHP) reported its earnings growth is expected to be lower than top line growth in 2018. Investors overlooked strong current trading as the shares declined 2.2% to £31.09.

Galliford Try (GFRD) was unloved by the market on an announcement it is raising £150m to strengthen its balance sheet due to financial pressures from the liquidation of Carillion (CLLN). The need to bolster its finances is linked to costs associated with its Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route joint venture with Carillion and Balfour Beatty (BBY). Shares in Galliford Try plummeted 19% to 800p.

Serco (SRP) secured a discount on its purchase of Carillion's healthcare contracts and said it would pay £29.7m. Its shares rose 4.1% to 86.9p.

Soft drinks bottler Coca-Cola HBC (CCH) reported profits beat expectations, driven by a strong performance in emerging markets, operational leverage and controlled costs. Shares in the company fizzed 4.8% higher to £23.44.

Pay TV firm Sky (SKY) was up 2% at £10.82 after extending its Premier League rights at a 14% discount to the current rate it is paying, effective from 2019 to 2022.

Engineer GKN (GKN) reported it planned to return up to £2.5bn to shareholders over the next three years in a bid to fight off a hostile takeover by Melrose (MRO).

Sirius Minerals (SXX) signed up an alternative contractor for construction work at its polyhalite project in North Yorkshire after ending talks with another contractor. Its shares gained 3.8% to 23p.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Trading Emissions' (TRE) subsidiary TEP entered a deal with NextPower concerning the sale of its Italian solar asset SEI1 for an estimated €7.97m. Its shares soared 49.2% to 3p.

The resignation of Nighthawk's (HAWK) chief financial officer Kurtis Hooley triggered a 10.5% slide to 0.4p.