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11 Dec 2018 | 09:09

UK stocks open 0.3% higher amid heightened Brexit uncertainty

UK stocks recouped some of their recent losses on Friday amid heightened uncertainty over the course of Brexit negotiations, triggered by Theresa May's sudden decision to delay a crucial vote on her deal with the EU.

At 0858, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 26.35 points, or 0.4%, at 6.747.89.

Advertising firm WPP gained 4.4% as new chief executive Mark Read unveiled a restructure plan that involved spending £300m over the next three years to boost efficiency and sharpen the company's offering.

Embattled flooring retailer Carpetright rose 8.8%, despite posting a deeper first-half loss, as it met cost-cutting targets and the rate of sales decline slowed in the second quarter.

Industrial equipment rental company Ashtead rose 2.7% on guiding that it expected its full-year results to exceed its expectations, as first-half profit rose by 25% on the back of stronger sales in North America.

Security services provider Serco climbed 1.4% after it won contract extensions with Peterborough city and Lincolnshire county, worth a combined £135m.

Gambling company 888 gained 3.0% on news that it had acquired the remaining 53% stake in All American Poker Network for $28m, expanding its footprint in the US.

Intellectual property support services provider RWS gained 2.4% after the acquisition of language services group Moravia drove a 17% rise in profit.

Bio-marker company Oxford BioDynamics booked an annual loss as it increased spending on R&D and staff while revenue remained flat. The company's shares were unchanged.

Australia-focused online retailer MySale tumbled 46% as warned that it expected to book a first-half underlying loss, amid 'challenging' conditions during its peak second-quarter trading period.

SQN Secured Income Fund said it planned to raise between £50m and £100m from a share issue in the first quarter of 2019 to target potential investment opportunities. Its shares gained 0.8%. Story provided by
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