MIDDAY REPORT: Headline shares were modestly higher in midday trade, with financial issues dominating the leaders and the heavyweight miners recovering from a muted start to the session.
At midday, the FTSE100 was up 14.63 points at 5,759.18 with the FTSE250 off 5.4 points at 11,417.6 and the FTSE Smallcaps 4.59 points lower at 3,114.1.
US stock futures suggest a positive opening today ahead earnings news from the likes of McDonald‚€?s and Schlumberger.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 53 points at 12,955, S&P500 futures advanced 5 points at 1,378 and Nasdaq 100 futures added 10 points at 2,694.
Trading was cautious today ahead of a weekend that includes meetings of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and G20.
After a muted start to the day, mining stocks were driven higher by Vedanta Resources, up 22.5p at 1,222.5p, with Kazakhmys up 11.5p at 880p, Anglo American ahead 34.75p at 2,341.75p.
Meanwhile, a dip in the price of gold sent Randgold Resources down 5p at 5,440p and Fresnillo lost 1.5p at 1,624.5p.
Lloyds led the banks higher, adding 0.97p at 30.26p, helped by a buy recommendation from Investec, while Barclays gained 2.75p at 215.05p and Royal Bank of Scotland edged ahead 0.06p at 23.9p.
Hedge fund manager stole the limelight, rallying 3.53p at 96.93p after recent losses based on its flagship AHL fund underperforming.
Elsewhere, Hargreaves Lansdown rose 15p at 523.5p as investors re-visited yesterday's Q3 update and Schroders added 24p at 1,470p.
Food ingredients group Tate & Lyle rose 2.75p at 682.25p on announcing it has reached agreement to sell its 50% share in Colombian JV Sucromiles for a total cash consideration of ¬£19.6m).
International engineering group IMI rose 10.25p at 984.25p, when it said it has had a positive start to 2012 with Group revenues in the three months to end-March up 8% on a reported basis.
International Airlines Group (IAG) ticked up 2p at 171.7p on reporting it has completed the purchase of bmi from Lufthansa.
John Wood Group gained 26.5p at 749.5p when Morgan Stanley upgraded the oil industry service group from equal-weight to overweight and hiked its target price from 875p to 950p.
On the downside with blue chips, news that Moscow has ordered that charges be brought against TNK-BP over oil spill damages pushed shares in BP 5.37p lower at 434.68p. Elsewhere, BG Group slipped 7p at 1,405.5p and Shell fell 3.75p at 2,179.25p.
However, chip designer ARM Holdings was the worst performing blue chip of the day, down 15p at 592.5p ahead of its Q1 trading update next week.
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