- UK shares added to their opening gains on Thursday morning despite a flurry of negative news for individual companies.

At midday the FTSE 100 index of leading shares was up 83 points or 1.1% to 7,373 with almost every sector making gains bar Technology Hardware and Tobacco.

Biggest contributors to the rise were Oil & Gas Producers, Industrial Goods & Services, Insurers and Utilities.

The FTSE 250 of mid-caps stocks gained 90 points or 0.4% to 19,865.

British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines hit some turbulence which saw its shares fall 3.5% to 463p after downgrading earnings guidance.

In a pre-close trading update, Imperial Brands blamed vaping hysteria in the USA for lower than expected growth in Next Generation Products (NGPs) as well as an aggressive push for market share gains in the competitive Australian market for the earnings alert. Its shares were 10% lower at £18.60.

Shares in education company Pearson were smashed down 17% to 711p after it lowered full-year profit expectations to the lower end of its £590m to £640m guidance range.


Comparison website operator GoCo gained 5% to 79.4p on news that its AutoSave business had more than 220,000 live customers, up 28% since 8 July and surpassing previous guidance.

Financial firms Man Group and Intermediate Capital were also in demand, up 3% to 173p and 2% to £14.37 respectively.

Roadside assistance and insurance firm AA reversed an earlier 3% gain to trade down 3.6% at 62.4p after launching what it called a 'cutting-edge partnership' with Uber for roadside and service maintenance and repair.

The worst performer in the FSTE 250 was travel food and drink outlet operator SSP Group which fell 5.3% to 632p after disappointing investors with fourth quarter like-for-like sales growth of 1.8%, below the 2% called for by consensus.

Also on the losing side was property-portal operator OnTheMarket, which blamed fears of a no-deal Brexit and 'wait-and-see' approach by buyers and sellers for sluggish revenues, pushing the shares down 11% to 86.5p.

Biggest faller in the small-cap space was inkjet print-head maker Xaar with shares down 39% to a multi-year low of 43p after recording a £15m first half loss and abandoning its 'thin film' business.

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