StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks opened higher Wednesday as buyers stepped in following recent steep losses on global exchanges owing to tech-sector weakness.

At 0856, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 42.74 points, or 0.6%, at 6.990.66.

DIY group Kingfisher shed 3.8% after ongoing weakness at its French business contributed to a fall in third-quarter like-for-like sales.

Telecom group TalkTalk fell 3.5% despite narrowing its first-half losses as it picked up more broadband customers.

The company, however, also said it had terminated a potential partnership with M&G Prudential for the roll-out of a new high-speed broadband network was talking to new potential funding partners.

Water supplier United Utilities booked a 7.7% rise in first-half profit as it grew regulated revenue and its financing expenses fell. Its shares, however, weakened by 0.7%.

Babcock International slumped 10% after it booked a sharp fall in first-half profits, as measures to strengthen the group drove up costs.

Chemicals company Johnson Matthey rallied 7.9% on news it expected operating profit growth toward the upper end of guidance.

Software company Sage Group slipped 4.6%, as it booked a 16% rise in annual profit but warned revenue growth could slow as it revamps its focus onto software-as-a-service.

Travel location convenience store company SSP Group fell 7.3%, despite posting a 26% rise in annual profit, as investors focused on the departure of chief executive Kate Swann.

Life sciences investor Syncona climbed 1.3% as higher returns from its portfolio of companies boosted its first-half net asset value per share by 33%.

Specialist lender Paragon Banking Group posted a 25% rise in annual profit after it grew the size of its loan and deposit books, while also boosting margins. Its shares gained 0.7%.

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