FTSE 100 builds on early gains amid latest Brexit developments

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Sterling nudged slightly ahead amid briefings suggesting a Brexit deal is gradually moving closer. By midday the FTSE 100 was up 0.5% to 6,366.15, with US futures markets suggesting a mixed open on Wall Street later amid ongoing concern about the fate of a much-needed package of financial stimulus.

Shares in software company Sage Group dropped 13.3% to 589.4p after it reported a fall in revenue of 1.7% year on year.

Operating profit rose by 5.8% to £404 million and earnings per share increased by 15.9%.

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca's antibody imfinzi has been approved in the US for an additional dosing option to treat some forms of lung and bladder cancer.

Its shares were up by 2% to £82.89.

Two major investment trusts issued first half reports this morning.

The Edinburgh Investment Trust reported net asset value total return growth of 7.8%, above the 7% return generated by the FTSE All-Share index in the six months to the end of September.

Its share price was up 0.6% to 521.2p.

Meanwhile, Personal Assets Trust recorded a net asset value (NAV) gain of 2.9% over the six months to 31 October, while the FTSE All-Share fell by 3.4%.

The trust's shares were up 0.3% this morning to £455 each.

AIM-quoted technology company Telit Communications saw its share price jump more than 16% after it received a merger offer from Swiss firm u-blox.

The proposed deal valued the firm at £2.50 a share, or approximately £332.6 million, and would result in Telit shareholders owning 53% of the combined company. Telit shares were trading at 196.4p.

Packaging company Smurfit Kappa has raised €660 million through a share issue, it announced this morning. Its share price was down 3.2% to £31.20.

Cruise operator Carnival raised $888 million through a share issue to finance the repurchasing of convertible bonds, it announced this morning. Its share price was up by 2.2% to £11.98.

Real estate investment trust Segro has received approval to list shares on the Euronext Paris stock market. It will remain listed in the UK.

Segro's share price was down by 0.2% to 906.6p.

Pest control giant Rentokil Initial has purchased €174.3 million of its bonds from holders, it announced this morning. Its share price was up by 1.9% to 525.1p.

Meanwhile, builders merchant Travis Perkins announced plans to buy back up to £250 million of debt. Its share price ticked up by 1% to £13.24.