StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks opened 0.3% higher on Friday as investors braced for the release of monthly US employment data later in the day, amid growing concerns about the health of the world's biggest economy.

At 0839, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 23.41 points, or 0.3%, at 7,101.05 points.

BP gained 0.4% to 486.58 after the oil giant announced that the current head of its oil and gas division, Bernard Looney, would replace Bob Dudley as its chief executive.

AstraZeneca rose 1.2% to 7,026p as the US Food and Drug Administration approved the self-administration of the company’s respiratory medication in a pre-filled pen.

Defence contractor Meggitt added 1.0% to 616.6p on news that it secured a $48m contract for the supply of aerial weapons scoring systems to the US Army.

Office investor Workspace firmed 0.8% to 944.5p after it exchanged contracts for the disposal of a property in London for £14.8m, above its book value.

Flavour and ingredients supplier Treatt fell 2.0% to 402p on guiding for a 1% rise in annual revenue, with growth limited by a steep fall in citrus raw-material prices.

Financial services group WH Ireland fell 1.8% to 49.1p on news that chairman Tim Steel would retire at the end of the year, having overseen a management overhaul that included changes of chief executive and chief financial officer.

Cannabidiol supplier Zoetic International puffed 18% higher to 4.34p after it announced that it it more than doubled its first-half revenue, as more stores in the US stocked its cannabidiol-infused smoking products. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com