- UK stocks got off to a strong start on Friday as lingering fears of a no-deal Brexit kept the pound under pressure, assisting exporters.

The pound slumped by around half a US cent after Bank of England policy committee member Michael Saunders indicated that UK interest rates may be cut due to Brexit uncertainty.

At 0848, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 66.62 points, or 0.9%, at 7.417.70.

Marine services group James Fisher and Sons gained 1.5% to 2,075.5p on news that it had won a 'multi-million pound' contract for the design and build of submarine rescue equipment.

Water and waste-management group Pennon added 1.0% to 800.4p on announcing that it would review its capital allocation policy amid a 'strong' financial performance.

Veterinary company CVS rallied 8.9%, as it posted a 15% rise in annual profit, buoyed by a significant improvement in its second-half performance.

Funeral group Dignity rose 1.1% to 515.5p after it appointed former London Stock Exchange director Clive Whiley as its new chairman.

Broking house Numis shed 0.9% to 239.5p, as it warned that it expected to report a fall in annual profit, as political uncertainty in the UK continued to hurt trading volumes.

Wind-power investor Renewable Infrastructure Group fell 3.9% to 127.09p after it launched a share issue at 123p to help pay down debt and fund new acquisitions.

Heating product hire company Andrew Sykes sank 18% to 517p, as a mild winter cut demand for its products and sent its profits south.

Learning and skills development company Malvern International rose 5% to 2.1p, despite posting a first-half loss owing to a write off the value of its Malaysian assets.

The company also posted a 33% rise in revenue that was slightly ahead of its expectations.

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