The Middle East unrest, particularly the escalation between Iran and Israel, is weighing on market sentiment. Iran's attack on Israel over the weekend led to a cautious approach among investors, affecting sectors like precious metal miners and oil and gas shares in the UK.

The G7 leaders have warned against an "uncontrollable regional escalation", expressing solidarity with Israel and readiness to take further measures.

The FTSE 100 was down this morning, impacted by downbeat corporate earnings, with PageGroup and Ashmore experiencing notable drops in share prices after reporting declines in profits.

In corporate news, Kingfisher announced leadership changes, with Claudia Arney set to become the new chair, succeeding Andrew Cosslett in June. The home improvement retailer's shares have seen a 2% year-on-year decline, following a 25% profit slump in the 2023-24 year, largely due to a weak French market.

Mitie Group unveiled a new share buyback program and Inchcape sold its UK retail arm. Mitie expects an 11% increase in revenue and a 23% rise in operating profit, prompting a further GBP 50 million share buyback.

In other news, the UK's Chancellor Jeremy Hunt signaled readiness to "cut taxes and bet on growth" following positive GDP growth in February.

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