- The FTSE 100 started the day modestly higher as it looked to hold on to Friday's gains and end a difficult year on a positive note.

Investors were not put off by weak Chinese manufacturing figures overnight as the curtailed trading session got underway and the index of leading UK shares was up 7.39 points at 6,741.36.

There was very little corporate news to interest investors.

Israeli tailor Bagir fell 19.5% to 1.49p as it announced that it is taking more time than first envisaged for Shandong Ruyi to receive Chinese Government approval for its proposed $16.5m investment into the company in return for 53.7% of the company's enlarged share capital.

Bagir is trading in line with management expectations for the 12 months to 31 December 2018. As anticipated, trading in the second half has been stronger compared to the first six months, with the company recording a profitable third and fourth quarter.

Udi Cohen, chief financial officer, has decided to leave the company from March 10, 2019, to pursue his other business interests.

Serica Energy has announced the spud of the ENI UK Limited operated Rowallan exploration well 22/19c-G in which it has a 15% interest. Its shares advanced 2.5% to 123p

S4 Capital, the new age/new era digital advertising and marketing services company run by WPP founder Martin Sorrell, reported continued trading progress in line with expectations year-to-date to the end of November. The shares advanced 2.5% to 120.9p.

Euro reportable revenues were up almost 46%, gross profit up almost 40% and operating EBITDA at the MediaMonks level up almost 118%.

Like-for-like revenues were up over 51%, with gross profit up over 44%. Operating EBITDA at the MediaMonks level was up over 111%.

Chemicals firm Croda has announced that it has completed the acquisition of Brenntag Biosector A/S from Brenntag Nordic A/S on 28 December 2018. Its shares ticked up 0.9% to £47.01

Canada and Italy focused oil firm Cabot Energy plans to launch an equity fundraising at a 'deep discount' to its current market price in order to shore up its balance sheet. The shares dived 55.4% to 0.68p on the news.

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