- The European Central Bank agreed to keep rates and quantitative easing as it is and upgraded its forecasts for eurozone growth, driving the single currency higher.

The FTSE 100 remained in positive territory, close to 7,400 with software firm Micro Focus (MCRO) top of the leaderboard on a well-received strategy update to follow the completion of its $8.8bn merger with HPE Software.


In the US the S&P 500 opened as the impact of recent extreme weather was reflected in a spike in unemployment benefit claims to their highest level since April 2015.


A revision to the Ogden discount rate pushed insurer Direct Line (DLG) 2.8% higher to 379.3p. The rate for compensation payments is now expected to be between 0% and 1% instead of -0.75%.

AstraZeneca (AZN) was up 4.3% at £47.74 on a study that showed Duaklir significantly improves lung function in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients. The pharma company also reported a trial showing that tezepelumab cuts exacerbations in severe asthma. Its small cap partner for Duaklir, Circassia Pharmaceuticals (CIR) rallied 10.7% to 87.


Southern train operator Go-⁠Ahead (GOG) disappointed the market after operating profits fell by 7.4% to £150.6m in the year to 31 July 2017.

While the results were in line with its forecasts, shares in the company slumped 10.4% to £15.77.

Investors overlooked housebuilder Bovis Homes' (BVS) 31% drop in pre-tax profit to £42.7m due to legacy issues and focused on a positive outlook from CEO Greg Fitzgerald. He said his new strategy would help Bovis achieve sustainable, profitable growth, triggering a share price jump of 9.1% to £11.50.

ZPG (ZPG), previously known as Zoopla, conditionally agreed to acquire for £80m on a cash-free, debt-free basis, as well as a performance-based earn-⁠out of up to £60m. The news lifted shares in the online property site by 2% to 361.8p.

A move to IFRS 15 reporting was bad news for Capita (CPI). The outsourcer restated its revenue and profits for 2016, which means sales will be more evenly spread over the life of contract. The news dragged the stock 2.4% lower to 627.5p.


On AIM, Chariot Oil & Gas Limited (CHAR) was a winner as its shares surged 19% to 13.3p after the oil and gas firm assigned a drilling rig for its upcoming RD-1 well to target the JP-1 prospect offshore Morocco.

Nearly 40% of Havelock Europa's (HVE) market value was wiped off on a profit warning. The interior design services company blamed delays in starting work for key customer and lower than expected orders from the public sector. It said results 'will fall significantly below expectations' in the year to 31 December 2017.

Shares in video games developer Frontier Developments (FDEV) were up 9.3% to £12.35 after beating forecast earnings growth. This was driven by the launch of Planet Coaster.

Carclo (CAR) struggled on a weaker than anticipated performance in its first half after some key new programmes were pushed into the second half of the year. Shares in the moulded plastic components provider slipped 8.2% to 143.4p.

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