The FTSE was struggling for direction as gains in banks and miners helped the blue-chip index nudge 3 points higher to 7,733 around midday.

Barclays (BARC) rose 2.7% to 205.8p and Anglo American (AAL) advanced 1.5% to £17.82.

Brent crude oil dipped 0.1% to $68.54 per barrel.


Online supermarket Ocado (OCDO) surprised the market with a major international deal with Canadian business Sobeys. Ocado said it expects to deliver profits from the agreement from its 2019 financial year, helping the shares power 11.5% higher to 460.5p.

Investors overlooked Dixons Carphone's (DC.) decision to reduce its pre-tax profit guidance thanks to a 6% year-on-year increase in sales in the 10 weeks to 6 January 2018. The stock was up 4.1% at 195.7p.

Engineering software business AVEVA (AVV) beat expectations as its improved growth continued into the third quarter. The shares advanced 3.3% to £29.99.

Reports that culture secretary Matthew Hancock supported a £2m maximum stake on fixed odd betting terminals hit shares in GVC (GVC) and Ladbrokes Coral (LCL).

IMI (IMI) announced results in its hydronic engineering division are likely to be lower than anticipated, although this would not affect full year results. This did not stop the stock falling 3.2% to £13.62.


A profit warning from Connect (CNCT) wiped off nearly a third of the parcels distributor's value, leaving the share price dwindling at 75.2p. Contract delays, slower than anticipated cost savings and margin pressures meant annual profit was cut to between £42m to £45m.

On AIM, Goals Soccer Centres (GOAL) reported that 2017 profits would be broadly in line with the lower end of market expectations, pushing the shares 6.9% lower to 72.6p.