StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks opened higher on Friday, led by a rally in the housebuilding sector.

At 0851, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 11.78 points, or 0.2%, at 7.414.11.

Berkley, Taylor Wimpey, Barratt Developments and Persimmon rose 3.2%, 2.8%, 2.2% and 2.2%, respectively.

Shares in theme park group Merlin Entertainments soared by 14% to 450p after it received a takeover bid from a consortium including the Danish family which owns Lego.

Retirement home developer McCarthy & Stone gained 2.7% as it welcomed news that the UK government had exempted the sector from a regulatory rent cap.

Infrastructure group John Laing fell 1.2% on warning that a mixed operational performance from some of its renewable energy assets could weigh on its first-half earnings.

Renewables Infrastructure Group was broadly flat after it made two onshore wind investments in France, for an undisclosed sum.

Woodford Patient Capital Trust gained 3.2% after the fund vowed to cut debt and said it would consider a share buyback to lift its market value.

Video game developer Codemasters firmed 2.5% as it confirmed the release of car racing video game F1 2019.

Professional services company Norman Broadbent dropped 5.0% after it booked a full-year loss, as rising revenue was more than offset by higher operating expenses and financing costs.

West African focused gold miner Avocet Mining slumped 11% after it decided to place itself into voluntary liquidation.

Advanced materials company Versarien jumped 9.5% on news that it had secured its first graphene order from a US based company operating in the oil and gas exploration sector.

Marketing company Mporium shed 1.1% as its annual losses doubled on a more than halving of revenue. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com