- UK stocks opened stronger on Wednesday as optimism grows that the US and China will iron out their differences over trade.

At 0857, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 52.24 points, or 0.8%, at 6.913.84.

Supermarket giant Sainsbury's pared earlier losses to be 0.2% lower after it posted a fall in third-quarter sales, amid fierce competition with German discount retailers over Christmas.

Home builder Taylor Wimpey gained 5.1% on revealing that it had completed more homes in 2018, while average selling prices rose.

Bakery chain Greggs puffed 5.3% higher after it nudged up its annual profit guidance, owing to strong sales of savoury mince pies, hot drinks and breakfast offerings in the closing weeks of the year.

IT infrastructure group Softcat leapt 16% on announcing that it was trading 'materially' ahead of its expectations.

Fashion retailer Ted Baker smartened up by 11% thanks to higher Christmas sales, though it noted that trading conditions continued to be challenging.

Footwear retailer Shoe Zone rallied 9.9% after it posted an 18% rise in annual profit and declared a special dividend, as new 'big box' store offerings assisted sales.

Ailing baby goods retailer Mothercare gained 3.9%, despite posting substantially lower quarterly sales, as its store-closure plan progresses ahead of schedule.

Centamin improved by 0.9% despite its annual gold production faling 13% following an 'operationally challenging' year. The fall was nevertheless roughly in line with company expectations.

Topps Tiles also forged a 0.9% gained, despite announcing that its sales had slipped in the first quarter amid a 'challenging market backdrop' and tough on-year comparatives.

Wine retailer Majestic Wine added 1.8% as it boosted sales and margins during the Christmas trading period, which typically accounts for around 30% of its annual sales.

Sports nutrition company Science in Sport found 2.7% as it forecast a 37% rise in annual sales, partly owing to its acquisition of PhD Nutrition. Story provided by