StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks were roughly flat on Thursday, despite a rally in Morrison as the supermarket lined a special dividend and an improved interim dividend, while miners also edged higher on US-China trade hopes.

Sentiment on trade received a boost after US President Donald Trump said he would delay a planned tariff hike on $250bn of Chinese goods that were set to come into effect on 1 Oct.

Fresnillo and BHP and Rio Tinto were up more than 1%.

The benchmark FTSE 100 index rose 0.1%, or 3.5 points, to 7,341.53 ahead of the European Central Bank monetary policy decision due later this morning with expectations running high that the central bank will deliver fresh stimulus measures.

LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Wm Morrison Supermarkets surged 3.4% to 200.60p after it boosted its interim dividend and said it would pay a special dividend following a surge in profit in the first half of the year.

British American tobacco jumped 2% 3,105p after the tobacco company said it would layoff 2,300 workers, cutting over a fifth of senior roles in the company amid efforts to simply the business.

Aerospace and defence company Babcock rose 2.50% 551.40p after the company it had been selected by the UK Ministry of Defence as the preferred bidder to deliver its newest fleet of warships.

Wealth management group Brooks Macdonald rose 1.53% 1,990p after posting an annual profit that increased by more than fifth as efforts to streamline the business bolstered margins.

Energean Oil and Gas fell 4.77% to 948.47p after cutting output guidance as the oil and gas company swung to a loss in the first half of the year after a ramp-up in operations drove up costs offsetting a jump in revenues.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Focusrite rallied 6.37% 529.70p after the music and audio company said it expected revenue and earnings to top market expectations.

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