UK stocks inched higher at the open on Monday as German Chancellor Angela Merkel moved closer to securing a fourth term and investors largely brushed off concerns about a US government shutdown. At 0857, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 2.93 points at 7,733.72. Revolution Bars Group rallied 3.3% after it posted a significant boost in revenue in its fiscal first half, as it rolled out new bar venues and enjoyed strong patronage over Christmas. Dixons Carphone gained 1.5% after the smartphone retailer boosted like-for-like revenue by 6% over Christmas. The company also announced that it had appointed Alex Baldock as its new chief executive following the resignation of Sebastian James. Ocado Group rallied 12% after it formed a new partnership with Sobeys to develop an online grocery business in Canada. Engineering company Smiths Group agreed to sell its John Crane's Bearings business to private Austrian company Miba for an enterprise value of $35m. Its shares were flat. Workspace Group, meanwhile, agreed to acquire five office blocks in Camden, London for £109m. Shares in the real estate investment trust shed 0.8%. National Grid edged up 0.3% after the utility and the New York Public Service Commission filed a joint proposal for a three-year rate plan. Catering firm Compass Group detailed how much it was due to benefit from US tax reform, helping its shares to gain 0.5%. Services provider Computacenter added 1.1% on the back of another upgrade to its annual profit guidance. Construction company Kier Group gained 0.6% after it assumed more responsibility for work it had been conducting with failed developer Carillion. Tissue converter and supplier Accrol Group shed 1.4% after it announced an interim operating loss.
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