StockMarketWire.com - UK equities led global stock markets higher as investors were optimistic about a potential breakthrough in trade talks between the US and China, signalling a possible end to the trade war.

The FTSE 200 rallied 0.7% to 6,861 while Germany's DAX rose 0.7% to 10,829.

On Wall Street, the gains were more restrained with the Dow Jones adding 0.4% to 23,627.

LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Supermarket chain Morrisons fell 3.2% to 212.6p as a 4% rise in sales during the crucial Christmas trading period failed to inspire investors.

Power utility National Grid added 0.7% to 784.1p on news that it had reached a 'satisfactory agreement' in contract negotiations with two Massachusetts gas unions over employment terms and conditions.

Service company Serco won new contracts from the UK Home Office Visas and Immigration department, triggering a 6.4% jump in the shares to 108.6p.

Pub group Greene King advanced 5.6% to 584p after robust Christmas trading inspired increased confidence in the company's full-year outlook.

Building materials supplier SIG reversed 5.2% to 110.5p on announcing that it expected to report a fall in annual profit, as revenue weakened in the second half.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Footwear retailer Footasylum, tumbled 11% to 28.9p, as it warned its earnings would be toward the lower end of market expectations. The company also said it planned to cut costs to improve shrinking margins.

It was also bad news from Accrol after warning profits are forecast to be lower than expected, blaming the weaker pound and higher tissue prices. The stock plummeted 35.5% to 13.5p on the news.

Lifestyle fashion brand Joules was faring better on the high street, gaining 4.3% to 255p, as it maintained its outlook on full-year profits amid strong Christmas sales growth.

Storage company Safestore rose 1.6% to 536p after it more than doubled its annual profit, as it boosted sales in both London and Paris and enjoyed a rise in the value of its investment properties.

Recruitment agency and training group Staffline shed 10.4% to £11.20, as it warned one-off costs would offset an 18% rise in annual revenue and push up its debt levels.

Shipping services group Clarkson gained 4% to £23.40 after reassuring investors that it saw its full-year results would be in line with expectations.


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