The FTSE 100 benefitted from stronger miners, helping the blue-chip index trade 0.1% higher at 7,698 around midday.

Evraz (EVR) led the way, rising 1.9% to 492.2p, followed by Anglo American (AAL) and Glencore (GLEN).

Brent crude oil retreated 0.3% to $77.24 per barrel.

OVERSEAS MARKETS

Both US and Asian equities enjoyed a bounce back overnight as investor concerns over political turmoil in Italy eased.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones closed 1.3% higher at 2,724. In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng enjoyed the biggest gains, up 1.4% at 30,368.

MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Transport operator FirstGroup (FGP) reversed 11.8% to 97.7p after racking up £326.9m of pre-tax losses in the year to 31 March and announcing the resignation of chief executive Tim O'Toole.

Building materials specialist CRH (CRH) revealed several business improvement initiatives, helping the shares strengthen 3.6% to £27.78.

Chemicals company Johnson Matthey (JMAT) rose 0.8% to £34.24 following a 2% increase in pre-tax profit and a 17% jump in sales in the year to 31 March.

Shares in events firm UBM (UBM) were lifted 2.6% to £10.25 following the UK Competition and Markets Authority's announcement it will not be investigating its proposed acquisition of Informa (INF).

Greetings cards seller Card Factory (CARD) said like-for-like sales dipped 0.4% in the quarter to 30 April in a tough retail environment. Its shares dropped 3.7% to 210.2p.

Premier Oil (PMO) announced it will be joining the FTSE 250 from 18 June, prompting investors to mark the shares 2.9% higher to 114.6p.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Car retailer Caffyns (CFYN) fell 2.3% to 415p as challenging market conditions hit pre-tax profit, which fell from £2.1m to £1.4m in 2018.

Natural resources investing company Cluff Natural Resources (CLNR) slumped 28.3% to 2.6p despite the UK Oil and Gas Authority waiving its requirement for a farm-out deal to be finalised by 31 May on its two licenses.