StockMarketWire.com - Promising results from the latest trial for its lung cancer drug at blue-chip pharma firm AstraZeneca (AZN) sparked gains in other stocks in the sector.

Rare diseases specialist Shire (SHP) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) jumped by 1.3% and 1% respectively.

This offset weakness in miners and banks as the FTSE ticked 0.1% higher to 7,395.

Brent crude oil was unmoved at $50.74 per barrel.

Copper gained 0.3% to $5,533 per tonne, while gold was flat at $1,222 per ounce.

OVERSEAS MARKETS

Wall Street struggled on Thursday thanks to underwhelming results from big US stores such as Macy's, Nordstrom and Ralph Lauren. Instant picture messaging app Snapchat also fell following slowing user growth.

In China, the market was more optimistic aas China's central bank announced it provided a $6.9bn boost to help target medium-term lending rates.

FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS

AstraZeneca received a welcome 5% boost to £49.84 after it made a breakthrough with its lung cancer drug treatment Imfinzi. It said that it significantly reduced the risk of the disease intensifying.

Home credit business Provident Financial (PFG) nudged 0.9% to £32.36 as its first quarter trading performance was consistent with market consensus.

FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS

Shares in Harbourvest Global Private Equity (HVPE) failed to rally on annual results, which suggested investors expected more than 10% growth in the net asset value of its shares.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

In the oil and gas sector, Ithaca Energy (IAE) was one of the biggest small cap risers rising 23.6% to 109.3p as its takeover by Delek moved closer. The company stated that Delek, via DKL Investments, intended to compulsorily acquire shares in the business it did not already own at a cash price of C$1.95 each.

The market was buying into Filtronic (FTC) on a strong trading update. It expected revenues and operating profits for the year to 31 May 2017 to be ahead of market forecasts.

Interserve (IRV) warned its workflow may be impeded by the general election, but the stock was stable thanks to a five year contract with Network Rail worth £65m.

Shares in Tower Resources (TRP) on AIM were suspended at its request while it waited for clarification of its financial circumstances. The company added it was considering options that included a possible appointment of administrators.


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