StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks opened higher on Friday as North Korea struck a more conciliatory tone with the US following yesterday's deterioration in relations.

At 0857, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 24.65 points, or 0.3%, at 7.741.39.

Water utility and waste management group Pennon rallied 5.7% as annual profit rose by a quarter, owing to regulatory tariff increases, higher customer demand and cost savings.

Energy utility SSE posted a more modest 0.3% gain, as its annual profit fell 39% on increased network costs -- though it forecast a 3% rise in its dividend this year and rises in line with RPI inflation thereafter.

Drugs giant AstraZeneca said a trial of its lung cancer treatment showed positive overall survival rates. Its shared gained 0.8%.

Gambling group GVC, meanwhile, gained 2.1% on the back of a 7% rise in year-to-date net gaming revenue.

Instrumentation and controls company Spectris added 1.2% as sales rose 2% in the first four months of the year, supported by a particularly strong showing in China and UK.

Medical technology provider Surgical Innovations plunged 12% after it cut its annual revenue expectations by 10% due to product supply delays.

Centamin tumbled 15% as the miner lowered its production guidance for 2018 amid low grades at its Sukari gold mine.

Midatech Pharma gained 1.7% as dosing commenced for the company's first-in-human study for the treatment of a highly-aggressive form of childhood brain cancer.

Local Shopping REIT fell 6.1% as first-half losses deepened following the disposal of properties below their carrying value to cut debt.

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