UK stocks saw a fairly lacklustre start to the session as investors awaited Thursday's Bank of England rate decision, although further changes were not expected after last month's rise. At 0858, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 0.31 points, or 0.0042%, at 7.313.05. Sports betting company GVC edged 0.56% higher as it swung to a pre-tax profit for the first half of the year as the World Cup fuelled a flurry of betting activity boosting retail revenues, though the company warned of regulatory hurdles ahead. Legal & General Group rose 0.36% as it said Thursday it had completed a £4.4bn buy-in for British Airways PLC's pension scheme, Airways Pension Scheme, covering nearly 22,000 pensioners. British grocer Morrison fell 0.58% after it reported a 9% increase in its first-half profit and its best quarterly like-for-like sales in almost a decade as it broadens its scope into wholesale. Medical device group Creo Medical jumped 3.88% after it said Thursday its Speedboat endoscopic advanced energy device was used for the first time in South Africa. Income-focused UK-REIT RDI lost 0.76% after it announced it had completed a forward-funding agreement to buy two distribution units totalling 26,800 sqm in Bicester for £26m, it said on Thursday. Bushveld Minerals, the integrated primary vanadium producer, soared 17.37% as it said Thursday it had completed the acquisition of a 21.22% stake in Strategic Minerals Corporation for a total cash sum of US$20m from Sojitz Noble Alloys Corporation. Sirius Real Estate added 2.05% after announcing it had secured three large new lettings, totalling 11,000 sqm, including a five-year lease to a leading German sports car manufacturer in Stuttgart. Faron Pharmaceuticals plunged 10.74% after reporting on Thursday that first-half losses nearly doubled amid rising costs related to the end phase of a clinical trial for its respiratory treatment and an increase in development costs. Gene and cell therapy group Oxford BioMedica leapt 5.43% as it reported an operating profit of £9.4m for the first half of 2018, compared with a £2.2m loss a year earlier, while gross income jumped 118% to £36m, driven by £20.6 million worth of licence income & grants.
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