- UK stocks opened higher on Friday, in line with other European exchanges, after the US and China appeared to soften their rhetoric on trade tensions.

The pound remained pressured by no-deal Brexit fears, providing a foreign exchange benefit to companies with offshore revenues.

At 0854, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 21.46 points, or 0.3%, at 7,205.78.

Premier Foods, the maker of Mr Kipling cakes and Oxo stock cubes, gained 2.6% to 33.85p on news that it had appointed the head of its UK business, Alex Whitehouse, as its chief executive after a long search process.

The company also appointed former Reckitt Benckiser chief financial officer Colin Day as its new chairman, though CFO and interim CEO Alastair Murray had decided to leave.

Footwear retailer Shoe Zone slumped 32% to 130p as it warned on profits and announced the immediate resignation of chief executive Nick Davis.

Iron-ore trader Ferrexpo gained 1.0% to 201p after a review found that although there was evidence funds it donated to the Blooming Land Charity had been misappropriated, none of its directors, management or employees were involved.

Building materials supplier Grafton firmed 6.1% to 724p on reporting an uptick in half-yearly profits, owing to margin strength at its merchanting and retailing businesses in Ireland.

Power generation group Rurelec gained 6.7% to 0.64p, despite swinging to a first-half loss, after it cut administrative costs and said it was considering assets sales, including in Chile.

Parkmead fell 5.5% to 48p, on announcing that it had agreed to acquire Pitreadie Farm, an owner of farmland and sites in Scotland with renewable energy potential, for £4.9m in shares.

Marketing company Jaywing shed 6.5% to 5.61p after it said it was in talks with its banks and shareholders about raising capital, amid tough trading conditions.

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