StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks opened lower on Friday after Donald Trump made more aggressive trade threats against China and the European Union.

At 0859, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 23.94 points, or 0.3%, at 7.492.09.

Whitbread jumped 16% after it agreed to sell its Costa coffee chain to Coca-Cola for an enterprise value of £3.9bn and pledged to return 'a significant majority' of the proceeds to shareholders.

The deal marked a change of tack for the Premier Hotel chain owner, which had originally intended to offload Costa via a de-merger.

British software company Sage Group dropped 7% as the sudden resignation of chief executive Stephen Kelly sparked more concerns about the company's performance following a revenue downgrade in April.

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca dropped 0.3% after its lupus treatment failed to meet its primary objectives in a trial.

Smaller rival Midatech Pharma soared 30% on the back of several positive outcomes from a study testing the efficacy and safety of its treatment for carcinoid cancer and acromegaly.

Shire, meanwhile, said it had completed the sale of its oncology franchise to Servier for $2.4bn. Its shares were broadly unchanged.

Restaurant Group, which owns the Frankie & Benny's and Garfunkel's chains, rallied 3.3% after investors looked past a fall in first-half profit and focused on improving like-for-like sales since the end of June.

Vodafone Group fell 0.7% after it said a merger between its Indian unit and Idea Cellular had been completed.

John Laing Infrastructure Fund posted a surge in first-half profit and said a shareholder vote on a takeover of the company would occur next month. Its shares were steady.

Retail stockbroker Share climbed 0.8% on news it had increased its UK market share in the second quarter, compared to the first.

Minoan Group gained 2.8% after it said it was closing in on a potential sale of its travel and leisure business Stewart Travel to its primary lender Zachary Asset Holdings.

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