StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks made marginal gains on Thursday morning despite mixed signals from the US Federal Reserve in the previous session.

At 11:30, the benchmark FTSE 100 was 42 points higher at 7,355.9.

LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Alcoholic drinks giant Diageo (DGE) dipped 11p to £32.59 after it dampened down first half organic growth expectations and cautioned it 'would not be immune' from significant changes in global trade policy.

Retailer Next fell 3.3% to £59.66 amid profit-taking after it saw a 2.7% increase in pre-tax profit in the first six months of the year as strong online sales offset the continued slump in retail and left its full-year guidance unchanged.

JD Sports Fashion gave up 14.8p to trade at 697.6p on the Competition and Markets Authority's (CMA) plan to refer its investigation into the acquisition of Footasylum to a Phase 2 inquiry.

Gulf Keystone Petroleum slipped 2.75% to 229.5p after it confirmed that a gross payment of $14.1m ($11.0m net to Gulf Keystone Petroleum) had been received from the Kurdistan Regional Government for Shaikan crude oil sales during June 2019.

Construction and infrastructure services group Kier improved 4p to 136.1p despite poor full year results showing a lurch into loss on flat revenue, as the embattled company insisted it is 'building firm foundations for the future' under new management and highlighted a strong order book.

Saga rallied 5.7% to 48p even after it reported that pre-tax profits halved in the first half as the company focused on transforming its business in a tough market.

Tate & Lyle lost 10.4p to trade at 736p after it said it had agreed a £930m bulk annuity insurance buy-in with Legal & General Assurance Society for its group pension scheme.

Productivity-enhancing instrumentation and controls company Spectris gained 3.5% to £25.81 after agreeing to sell its BTG Group business to Voith for a total gross cash consideration of €319m.

IG Group jumped 8.5% to 628p after it performed well in the first quarter benefitting from growth in the number of active clients, and from increased client trading activity as a result of the favourable market conditions in August.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Insurance sector services and technology solutions provider Charles Taylor surged 37% higher to 322p after recommending a £261m takeover offer from Lovell Minnick pitched at a princely 34% premium to yesterday's closing share price.

The City Pub Group dropped 9.2% to 197.5p even after it announced revenue growth in its interim results, up 36% to £27.1m (2018: £20.0m).

EVR Holdings slumped 14% to 4.25p as it grew revenue from £6,831 to £128,432, with the loss for the period before taxation growing from £4.4m to £7.1m.

Mongolian oil explorer Petro Matad added 1.5% to trade at 5p after it said spudding had started at its Gazelle-1 exploration well in eastern Mongolia, a little earlier than previously forecast.

Miner SolGold gained 2.5% to trade at 22.9p after it said that the Ecuador constitutional court had ruled against a petition to seek local consultation to consider the prohibition of mining activities in Southern Ecuador's Azuay province where SolGold's Sharug project is located.

Blackbird, developer and seller of the market-leading cloud video editing platform Blackbird, gained 3.9% to 10.65p after it announced that TownNews had again expanded its deployment of Blackbird for the fast production of digital news content in the US.

FW Thorpe was unchanged at 302p after it reported a marginal increase in full-year revenue as tough market conditions in the first half offset 'excellent' order recovery in the second half of the year.


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