- UK stocks climbed on Thursday amid weaker sterling, which fell in response to UK prime minister Boris Johnson's decision on Wednesday to prorogue parliament ahead of the Brexit deadline. Investors were also encouraged by China's fresh comments on potentially resolving the trade dispute with the US, while Italian shares enjoyed a relief rally on the return of Giuseppe Conte as the head of a new Italian coalition.

At 16:30, the benchmark FTSE 100 was up 68 points, or 0.96% higher, at 7,182.7.


AstraZeneca added 1.4% to trade at £73.70 after its lupus drug met its primary goal in a clinical trial.

International software product group Micro Focus International plummeted 32% to £10.63 after it revised its full-year revenue guidance down by two percentage points. This came as a result of weak sales execution and as a 'deteriorating macro environment' led to longer decision-making cycles in its customer base.

Energy services group Hunting gained 4.9% to 450.8p after it reported an uptick in half-yearly profit on higher revenue despite the uncertainty in the oil and gas industry.

Diversified Gas & Oil improved 3% to 104.5p after it said it had acquired the assets of EdgeMarc Energy for $50m.

Consumer products group PZ Cussons perked up 2.2% to 210p after it said it had entered into an agreement to sell its Greek food subsidiary Minerva and its Polish personal care brand Luksja.

Recruitment consultant Hays fell 2.3p to 136.8p after it announced a special dividend after reporting a slight fall in profit as weaker macroeconomic conditions in many markets kept a lid on net fees growth.


Mid-market private equity investor Oakley Capital Investments added 3.5p to trade at 235p after it said it had completed an investment in iconic homeware brand Alessi via a contribution of approximately £6m through its Oakley Capital Private Equity III fund.

The Gym Group climbed 3.2% to 246p after it reported a surge in profit as revenue grew by more than a quarter on the back of a 10% rise in membership numbers.

Guarantor loans provider Amigo slumped 54% to 67.9p after it reset annual expectations, blaming a weaker economic outlook and expectations that impairment would remain at a higher level than previously expected.

International fresh produce company Total Produce ripened 3.1% to 118p after it reported a sharp increase in earnings for its first half, as it incorporated its share of results from its Dole acquisition for the first time. It said it expected to see an increase in adjusted fully diluted earnings per share for the full year.

Ceramic products manufacturer Churchill China sparked up 15p to £16 on strong first half results showing a 27% surge in pre-tax profits with a chunky 18% hike in the dividend to 10.3p.

Convenience store retailer McColl's Retail slipped 6.2% lower to 45.4p after it said third-quarter sales and revenue were dragged down by a 'challenging' trading environment and poorer weather across the summer, but added that it still expected full-year results to be 'in line' with expectations.

In-game advertising group Bidstack surged 14.3% higher to 34p after inking a contract with NASDAQ-listed public advertising company The Trade Desk.

Primary vanadium producer Bushveld Minerals rallied 6.9% to 23.25p after it said it had received approval from the Competition Commission of South Africa to acquire the Vanchem assets.

UK-focused hydrocarbon company Union Jack Oil jumped 5.3% to 0.30p after it said that drilling at its West Newton wells in Yorkshire showed the presence of both oil and gas, rather than pure gas as it originally thought.

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