- UK stocks opened 0.2% higher on Friday after sentiment was buoyed by positive earnings updates from telecom giant BT and consumer goods group Reckitt Benckiser.

At 0857, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 14.42%, or 0.2%, at 7.677.59.

BT Group gained 4.1% on the back of a 68% rise in pre-tax profit, while underlying earnings were buoyed by stronger margins in its consumer business.

Reckitt Benckiser jumped 8.5% after it upgraded its full-year revenue target due to a better-than-expected performance at its infant formula unit.

In other big news, BP agreed to acquire BHP Billiton's US shale unit for $10.5bn. The assets had been a thorn in the mining group's side since it bought them when US gas prices where much higher. BHP shares gained 3.8% on news of the deal, while BP fell 2.0%.

Real estate classifieds site Rightmove fell 3.2%, as investors looked past a 12% rise in annual profit and focused on flat growth in customers.

Educational publishing house Pearson rose 3.1% as proceeds from asset sales and cost cutting helped it swing to a first-half profit.

Specialist technology outsourcer Equiniti rallied 13% as it upgraded its full-year guidance after a strong first half.

British chocolatier Hotel Chocolat gained 5.3% after it completed the transfer of its stores in Denmark to Retail Brands and signed a new development agreement covering Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland.

Jupiter Fund Management gained 2.2% after it was able to post a rise in first-half profit despite a fall in its funds under management. Story provided by