StockMarketWire.com - Decent US retail sales figures helped lift global markets out of their torpor on Friday afternoon with the FTSE 100 recovering some ground to trade down 0.3% to 7,345.78.

By 4.30pm UK time the S&P 500 was down 0.2% to 2,886.05.

Construction firm Kier dropped 34.8% on reports it was planning to sell its housebuilding unit for a beaten down price. Elsewhere ITV fell 4.6% and Auto Trader dipped a further 3.5% after yesterday's downgrade from UBS.

LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Media firm Ascential fell 2.6% despite saying first half results were in line with expectations.

Guarantor loans firm Amigo's chief executive Glen Crawford stepped down due to ill health. Shares in the company fall 2.6%. Hamish Paton, the former CEO of Brighthouse, is due to take over but has not yet gained regulatory approval.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Cancer drug development firm Faron Pharmaceuticals gained 25.8% on signs it was gaining an understanding of an unexpected outcome in the Phase III trial of its lead drug Traumakine.

Recruitment firm SThree gained 3% on reporting a 9% rise in first-half net fees, as strength in its contract business more than offset weakness in permanent placements.

Frontier Smart Tech jumped 8.1% on new that it received a preliminary approach 'from a credible, industry player' potentially rivaling Science Group's bid for the digital radio company. Science Group rose 0.9%.

Clean water technology company Mycelx Technologies tumbled 46% after it downgraded its annual guidance, citing delayed project bids.

Customer relationship management software provider Cerillion rallied 9.8% as it secured a contract worth an initial £5.1m from the Danish telecom and utility SE Group.

Bioplastics and radio frequency business Biome Technologies jumped 22.9% on announcing that it expected to receive revenues 'immediately' following the commercial production of its new heat-stable material in the US.

Luxury furniture retailer Walker Greenbank gained 5.9% as it reported weaker sales in the US and continued challenging conditions in the UK.

Advertising technology company Taptica International gained 14.2% as it approved a further share buyback programme worth up to $10m.

Investment company St Peter Port Capital dropped 21% after its annual net asset value slumped 17% owing to asset writedowns.

Logistics group Wincanton said it had secured a contract from supermarket chain Morrisons to provide transportation services from three distribution centres to its stores. Its shares advanced 0.5%.

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