- After opening higher on Wednesday as global markets pared substantial previous-day losses sparked by a deadly Chinese disease outbreak, UK stocks drifted back and finished the morning session flat.

At 12:00, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was off just 5.7 points, or 0.07%, at 7,605.05.

Supermarket giant Sainsbury's shed 2.3% to 207.5p after announcing that it had appointed insider Simon Roberts to replace Mike Coupe as its new chief executive.

Roberts is currently the company's retail and operations director.

Luxury fashion retailer Burberry fell 2.7% to £22, even as it nudged up its annual sales guidance following the launch of new products.

Burberry also said its sales in Hong Kong had halved due to political disruption in the Chinese territory.

Fashion retailer Ted Baker sank 9.7% to 288p after an independent review found it had overstated the value of its inventory to the tune of £58m.

The figure was materially higher than a £20m-to-£25m preliminary assessment announced last month.

Copper producer Antofagasta fell 3.7% to 915p as unrest in Chile weighed on its output in the final quarter of 2019.

Home builder Berkeley rallied 5.1% to £54.51 on pledging to increase shareholder returns by about £455m to £1bn over the next two years.

Sofware company Sage firmed 5% to 771p as its revenue in the first quarter rose 6.7%, driven by growth in subscriptions.

Books and stationary retailer WH Smith reversed 1.5% to £25, despite its revenue in the year to date rising 7%, boosted by acquisitions in its travel business.

On a like-for-like basis, however, the WH Smiths sales for the 20 weeks through 18 January fell 1%, as pressure on its weaker High Street operations weighed.

Pet product and veterinary business Pets at Home rose 1.7% to 291.5p as its revenue rose 7.9% in the third quarter and it said it remained on track to hit annual profit expectations.

Video game developer Sumo gained 0.7% to 194.4p on forecasting annual results 'at least in line' with market expectations.

Geotechnical engineering company Van Elle sank 8.3% to 50p on the back of a 63% fall in first-half profit and heavy cut to its dividend, owing to shirking margins.

Publisher and events group Dods crashed 15.5% to 3.9p, having warned of a slow start to its fiscal fourth quarter.

Flooring retailer Victoria gained 7.5% to 445p as it flagged A €170m from a corporate bond offering to pay off its bank debt.

Regenerative medical devices company Tissue Regenix sank 20.5% to 1.39p, despite posting annual revenue growth of 12%.

The company also said it was continuing to assess various funding options to alleviate significant working capital constraints.

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