- UK shares pressed ahead on Thursday as investors bet on new stimulus measures to drive a faster post-pandemic economic rebound, while a sustained recovery in China's services sector also lifted sentiment.

The benchmark FTSE 100 rose 0.4% to 5,966, climbing for the second straight session, with industrials and consumer cyclicals in demand. The mid-cap FTSE 250 index also advanced, adding 0.5% to 17789.

Leading the blue-chips higher was turnaround specialist Melrose Industries after it said it saw partial recovery in some of its markets.

Half-year results were predictably battered, with adjusted operating profit plunging 90% to £56 million in the first half, hurt by a coronavirus-driven downturn in the aerospace and automotive sectors.

But the shares rallied more than 13.3% to top the FTSE leader board at 113.9p.

Online trading platform CMC Markets said it expects 2021 earnings to surpass the higher end of market consensus, while pointing to a rise in costs as it brought on more clients for its services. Its shares advanced 4% to 324.48p.

E-commerce firm The Hut Group confirmed its intention to float on the London Stock Exchange, in potentially the biggest listing of a British company since 2013 and the first major London listing since the COVID-19 crisis.

British renewable power generator and network operator SSE has been fined £2.1 million for failing to publish information on future generation capacity, Britain's energy regulator said. But investors brushed the news aside, with the stock flat at £12.55.

French drugmaker Sanofi and its British peer GlaxoSmithKline have started a clinical trial for a protein-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, as pharmaceutical companies race to develop treatments against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tritax Big Box REIT nudged up 1.5% to 157.08p after announcing it had completed the sale of its Chesterfield asset for £57.3m. The price was a premium to the 30 June 2020 book value and reflected a return of 18.5% per annum.

Pensions firm Curtis Banks was unmoved as the self-invested pension plan provider maintained its interim dividend despite a fall in profit on client portfolio impairment from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit uncertainty.

Digital services company Kainos fell 2.8% to £10.50 despite reporting that trading since April continued to be 'resilient' across its businesses. It believes annual results will be in line with market expectations.

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