- UK stocks opened moderately lower on Wednesday after Britain's parliament approved national elections on 12 December and investors braced for the latest Fed decision on US interest rates.

At 0848, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 10.66 points, or 0.2%, at 7.295.60.

Standard Chartered rose 2.3% to 710.8p after the bank posted a 16% rise in third-quarter underlying profit, driven by an especially strong performance at its corporate and private banking divisions.

Clothing retailer Next softened by 3.2% to £66.30, even as it posted 2.0% growth in third-quarter full-price sales and stuck to its annual profit guidance.

Packaging company Smurfit Kappa firmed 1.9% to £25.90 as its operating earnings for the first nine months of the year grew 11%, buoyed by stronger sales volumes and margins.

Computer services provider Computacenter rallied 5% to £13.24 on announcing that its revenue and profit in the third quarter were 'well ahead' on-year.

AstraZeneca rose 0.5% to £74.25 after it agreed to sell and licence the commercial rights to its schizophrenia and bipolar drugs in Europe and Russia to Cheplapharm.

Medical products and technologies company ConvaTec gained 7.8% to 197.35, having reported 4.6% organic revenue growth in the third quarter, limited to 2.4% on a reported basis due to currency moves.

Water utility Severn Trent edged back 0.2% to £22.30 on announcing that it had appointed Christine Hodgson as its new chairman to replace Andrew Duff when he retires in April.

Hodgson was currently executive chair of Capgemini UK and a senior independent director of Standard Chartered.

Banknote authentication group De La Rue sank 20% to 148.76p, as it warned that its adjusted profit would be 'significantly lower' than market expectations.

Surveillance systems supplier Synectics tumbled 22% to 139.84p, as it warned of annual results 'materially below' market expectations.

Petra Diamonds fell 0.7% to 7.65p after millions of tonnes of material collapsed into the open pit of the Cullinan mine in South Africa following a thunderstorm.

Mining in the open pit at Cullinan was discontinued more than 50 years ago, with all current mining operations now underground, and Petra said the incident was not anticipated to have a material impact on production. Story provided by