- UK stocks opened higher on Wednesday after global exchanges were boosted by hopes of easing political tensions in Hong Kong and positive Chinese services-sector data.

In Hong Kong, expectations were mounting that leader Carrie Lam would withdraw a controversial China extradition bill that had sparked large and sometimes violent protests.

The pound, meanwhile, was volatile after Boris Johnson lost his first ever vote in parliament and said he would attempt to call a general election.

At 0829, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 50.28 points, or 0.7%, at 7.318.47.

Royal Bank of Scotland added 1.1% to 186p, even as it experienced a higher-than-expected number of claims for mis-sold payment protection insurance in the run up to a 29 August complaints deadline.

British American Tobacco added 0.8% to 2,935.5p after it priced a $3.5bn bond offering to refinance upcoming maturities, potentially redeem some of its bonds early and for general corporate purposes.

Homewares retailer Dunelm climbed 2.3% to 900.65p as it declared a special dividend and saw annual profit rise by more than a third.

Housebuilder Barratt Developments gained 3.0% to 603.4p on the back of a 9% rise in annual profit, supported by improved margins.

Wealth manager Miton rallied 25% to 51p after it agreed to be acquired by rival Premier Asset Management in a share-based deal. Premier shares were unchanged at 171.5p.

Pharmaceutical mainstay AstraZeneca added 0.2% to 7,445p following news that its lung cancer drug received marketing approval in China.

Online fashion retailer Quiz slumped 13% to 16.09p amid falling sales, blamed on a continuation throughout the summer of challenging trading conditions it reported in June.

Cycling and outdoors equipment retailer Halfords gained 4.4% to 179.8p, even as it reported weaker sales, pinned on milder summer weather and waning consumer confidence.

Somero Enterprises, which supplies technology to help builders level concrete, sank 20% to 225.06p after it booked a 23% fall in first-half profit, partly owing to a bout of heavy rainfall hurting sales in the US.

Tiziana Life Sciences soared 27% to 61p, having reported positive clinical trial data for a treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma, or HCC.

Property investor Secure Income REIT firmed 0.8% to 434.32p as it upped its dividend by 31%, after increased rental income helped it boost its first-half earnings.

Security and surveillance system supplier Petards added 6.6% to 21p on revealing that it had won a £1.1m contract from a 'major UK defence systems contractor'.

Industrial company investor Stirling Industries fell 1.4% to 41.9p on confirming that it was in talks to acquire German-based heat treatment equipment supplier Ipsen International.

Gene and cell therapy company Oxford Biomedica fell 3.4% to 617p as it booked a deeper first-half loss, after sales fell and it upped spending on R&D.

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