StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks opened higher on Wednesday amid increasing expectations that central banks could start to ease monetary policy to counter global growth threats.

At 0830, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 13.28 points, or 0.2%, at 7.227.57.

Sub-prime lender Provident Financial jumped 9.9% after rival Non-Standard Financial dropped its hostile takeover bid after meeting regulatory resistance. Non-Standard Financial fell 2.8%.

Greeting card and gift retailer Card Factory gained 3.3% as it notched a 6.4% rise in first-quarter sales, or a 2.3% rise on a like-for-like basis.

Financial services group Aviva rallied 4.1% after it announced that chief financial officer Tom Stoddard would stand down at the end of the month.

Office property investor Workspace advaced 0.2% as it upped its dividend by 20% on higher rental income that helped boost its annual adjusted profit.

Aerospace and defence company Babcock International rose 2.6% after it set a number of medium-term targets, including generating earnings growth of 3%-to-4% and sustaining margins at around 11% over the next five years.

The company said it had also merged its naval nuclear and nuclear power businesses into one unit.

Fellow defence contractor Chemring fell 1.7% as it swung to a first-half profit, but reiterated that its full-year performance would second-half weighed.

Budget carrier Ryanair climbed 0.5% on announcing that it carried 13% more passenger in the month of May on-year.

London West End focused property company Shaftesbury fell 0.2% after Westminster council approved its application for a major redevelopment scheme in Carnaby estimated to cost £32m.

Bus and train company Go-Ahead gained 0.6% on announcing that Elodie Brian had been appointed as chief financial officer on a permanent basis.

Wagering company Webis climbed 2.8% after it renewed a contract with the Hong Kong Jockey Club for three years.

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