- The FTSE 100 remained in positive territory thanks to a 0.7% jump in oil giant BP's (BP.) shares to 470p and a rally in pharmaceutical stocks.

ConvaTec (CTEC) gained 3.4% to 330.8p and AstraZeneca (AZN) received a 1.5% shot in the arm to £53.13. Hikma (HIK) also bounced back from previous underpeformance this week as the stock advanced 1.1% to £17.07.

Brent crude oil rose 0.5% to $51 per barrel, while gold slumped 0.6% to $1,264 per ounce.

Copper was up 0.3% to $5,710 per tonne.

UK manufacturing remained strong thanks to solid growth in output and new orders, according to Markit. The Purchasing Managers' Index was 56.7 - slightly below April's three-year high of 57.3.

Nationwide reported annual house price growth continued to slow as it declined to 2.1%. While potentially good news for prospective home owners, this would not necessarily bode well for the UK economy.


On Thursday, Wall Street bounced back from weak trading in the banking sector in its last quarter. The S&P 500 nudged 0.1% higher to 2,415.


It was a busy day for the UK banks as Lloyds (LLOY) and Barclays (BARC) were in the news.

Shares in Lloyds were flat at 70.3p after it completed the acquisition of UK consumer credit card business MBNA.

In a bid to meet strong investor demand, Barclays increased the size of its placing of shares in Barclays Africa, although this moved the stock 0.9% down to 208.1p. The bank sold a 33.7% stake for £2.2bn and strengthened its balance sheet.

Elsewhere, emission control catalysts developer Johnson Matthey (JMAT) warned that its profit would be hit by higher pension charges and a lack of US post-retirement medical benefit credit. Investors focused on these future threats and dismissed in-line full year profit as shares in the firm retreated 0.7% to £30.91.

Polymetal's (POLY) announcement that it acquired an additional 25% interest in the Dolinnoye gold property for $1.6m was overshadowed by its plan to appoint more non-executive directors. The stock dipped 1.5% to 995.4p on the news.


Coach operator FirstGroup (FGP) was the biggest mid-cap faller on a cautious outlook statement as it flagged continued uncertainty in the UK. Investors overlooked an improvement in pre-tax profit and cash generation, and marked the stock 5% lower to 142.3p.


Luxury shoes seller Jimmy Choo (CHOO) stepped 3.8% higher to 205p thanks to strong trading so far in 2017. The company said men's shoes performed strongly and all of its categories experienced strong growth in the first half of the year.

The market clearly wanted more from hostel-focused online booking platform Hostelworld (HSW) as it said group bookings were up from last year across all regions. Shares in the business fell 2.8% to 350p.

Among the top performing small caps was Haike Chemical (HAIK) as it delivered an impressive CNY302.8m turnover in the first four months of 2017, up from CNY225.5m. The stock soared 30.8% to 34p.

Self-tanning products seller Innovaderma (IDP) continued its stellar share price run as it confirmed a distribution deal with Boots Ireland for its Skinny Tan brand, triggering a 20.5% rally to 337.4p.

Publisher Haynes (HYNS) defied downbeat trading in the industry after it announced that it expected pre-tax profit in the year to the end of May to rise by up to 15%. Investors were happy to see its turnaround bear fruit as the stock gained 19.3% to 195p.

Building materials distributor Connect (CNCT) fell 0.6% to 125.2p as investors expected approval from the Competition and Markets Authority concerning the sale of its education and care division to RM (RM.).

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