StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks closed higher on Wednesday after days of decline following an easing of tensions between the US and China.

But the UK's leading FTSE 100 index had dipped in afternoon trading after a bad opening to US markets, with the Dow Jones in particular falling almost 2% in just 30 minutes of trading.

US president Donald Trump again took to Twitter to criticise the Federal Reserve and demand more interest rate cuts.

The UK's benchmark index recovered however as the pound dropped to close 23 points, or 0.32%, higher at 7,194.

LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Litigation finance firm Burford Capital was the big faller of the day after it plunged 46% to 605p following a suspected attack from short sellers.

Short seller Muddy Waters claimed in a report the company is a 'perfect storm for an accounting fiasco' and that its 'governance structures are laughter-inducing'. Burford hit back and said criticisms in Muddy Water's report are 'without merit'.

Miner and commodities trader Glencore shed 2.2% to 226.25p after announcing that its half-yearly earnings fell by nearly a third, amid lower copper and cobalt prices and poor performance from its African mines.

Glencore also confirmed that it would put the Mutanda mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on care and maintenance by the end of 2019 due to reduced cobalt prices.

Insurance giant Legal & General slipped 3.1% to 237.7p, even as it posted a 12% rise in first-half pre-tax profit and raised its interim dividend by 7.2%.

Asset manager Standard Life Aberdeen cheapened 7.5% to 260.6p on the back of a fall in adjusted first-half profit owing to net outflows from its funds and lower fee revenue.

Defence, aerospace and energy contractor Ultra Electronics rallied 11.4% to £20.68 as it increased spending on defence by the US government bolstered its earnings.

Pharmaceuticals company AstraZeneca rose 0.65% to £71.22 after it and Merck announced positive test results on their castration-resistant prostate cancer drug.

Gambling company Flutter Entertainment, previously known as Paddy Power Betfair, gained 6% to £66, despite booking a 24% fall in first-half profit that nevertheless beat market expectations.

Spirax-Sarco Engineering dropped 6.4% to £80.60 after it only managed to eke out a modest rise in first-half profit, on the back of higher sales of its thermal energy management and niche pumping products.

Recruitment firm Page added 3% to 453.4p, as it booked an 11% rise in first-half profit, owing to strong growth in some of its overseas businesses, including the US, offsetting a weaker performance at home in the UK.

Healthcare services group UDG Healthcare firmed up 2.8% to 773p after revealing that its third-quarter pre-tax profit was 'well ahead' on-year on a constant currency basis, while reiterating its full-year guidance.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

UK Oil & Gas shed 3.77% to 0.84p on news that it had agreed to up its stake in the Horse Hill oil development south of London, also known as the 'Gatwick Gusher', by acquiring Magellan Petroleum Investment Holdings for £12m.


Story provided by StockMarketWire.com