- UK shares had held onto most of the day's gains by the close on Thursday despite negative news on selected companies.

At 4.35pm the FTSE 100 index of leading shares was up 79 points or 1.1% to 7,369, with most sectors lending a hand.

Biggest contributors to the rise were Oil & Gas Producers, Industrial Goods & Services, Insurers and Utilities, while the main drags were Oil Equipment & Services and Tobacco.

The FTSE 250 of mid-caps stocks gave back more than half its earlier gains to close up just 38 points or 0.2% at 19,812 compared with a 90-point increase at midday.

Notable fallers included British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines which saw its shares fall 3.7% to 463p after downgrading earnings guidance.

Also down on the day was Imperial Brands, which lowered forecasts due to 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. Shares closed at a low for the day down 13% at £17.91.

Shares in education company Pearson were marked down 14% to 744p after it lowered full-year profit expectations to the lower end of its £590m to £640m guidance range.


Comparison website operator GoCo closed at a high for the day up 7% to 81.2p on news that its AutoSave business had more than 220,000 live customers, up 28% since 8 July and surpassing previous guidance.

Luxury car-maker Aston Martin Lagonda made amends for yesterday's slump by rallying 7.6% to 593p despite lingering concerns over its recent bond sale.

Roadside assistance and insurance firm AA reversed an earlier 3% gain to close down 4.3% at 61.9p 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 9.1% to 607p 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 10% to 87.5p.

The biggest faller in the small-cap space was inkjet print-head maker Xaar with shares down 38% to a multi-year low of 42.5p after recording a £15m first half loss and abandoning its 'thin film' business.

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