- UK stocks open higher on Friday after US Fed chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank would be patient about raising interest rates and investors held onto hopes of a trade-war breakthrough.

At 0842, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 43.45 points, or 0.6%, at 6.986.32.

Struggling regional carrier Flybe plunged 77% after it agreed to be taken over for a mere £2.2m by a joint venture comprising Stobart Group, Virgin Atlantic and funds managed by Cyrus Capital Partners.

The venture, dubbed Connect Airways, also offered a £20m bridge loan facility and up to £80m of further funding to support the airline's growth. But investors hoping a takeover battle would push up Flybe's share price have been left bitterly disappointed.

Stobart shares rallied 7.7%.

Builder's merchant and DIY outfit Grafton, meanwhile, firmed 2.5% on announcing that it expected earnings 'slightly' ahead of the top end of analyst expectations.

Online fashion retailer Quiz tumbled 23% as it downgraded its earnings and revenue guidance in the wake of a tough Christmas trading period and heavier spending on staff and marketing.

Online electrical retailer AO World gained 3.7% after an 8.2% rise in third-quarter revenue helped it keep its full-year guidance intact.

Mens' suit merchant Moss Brothers softened 0.8% as it reiterated it expected to post an annul loss as its margins shrank, while forecasting an 'extremely challenging' period ahead.

Management software provider Sopheon fell 4.1%, even as it said 'early indications' pointed to it posting a higher-than-expected annual profit on the back of continue sales growth.

Legal services marketing business NAHL slumped 23% on announcing that it expected to post profits 5-10% below its previous expectations amid a 'disappointing' end to the year.

Remote-tracking technology company Starcom shed 3.0% after announcing that it now expected to break even at the earnings level in 2018 following a delay to a key order in Africa.

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