By the close the FTSE 100 had reversed earlier losses to trade 0.3% higher at 7,184.80 as US stocks showed signs of a fragile recovery from multi-month lows. UK manufacturing data showed activity levels in UK factories contracting as Brexit stockpiling ceased. Construction and outsourcing company Kier plunged 40% after it warned on profits, citing slowing sales growth. LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS ITV shares fell 1.9% after investment bank Goldman Sachs slashed its price target on the stock from 187p to 121p. WPP headed in the opposite direction on an upgrade from the investment bank, up 1.9%. Funerals company Dignity fell 4.3% after the UK government tightened regulation in the funeral sector. The company said it had been calling on change for years, arguing that it would help crack down on poor sales practices by some rivals. AstraZeneca gained 1.7% after it and partner Merck recorded positive results from a pancreatic cancer treatment trial. SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS Telecom services provider KCOM jumped 13.4% after it withdrew its support for a takeover bid from Universities Superannuation Scheme in favour of a superior £563m offer from Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets. Bonding solutions supplier Scapa tumbled 46.7% after key customer ConvaTec moved to terminate a master supply agreement with the company. Scapa said it would contest the termination. Iron deficiency focused Shield Therapeutics dropped 2.6% on news that that Teva Pharmaceutical Industries had filed a notice of appeal regarding a previous patent ruling. Financial services group Tatton Asset Management rallied 4.4% as it booked a rise in annual profit after it boosted its funds under management. The company also announced a contract win with Tenet Group. Mass spectrometry instrument developer Microsaic Systems jumped 16.9% after it announced that it had developed proof of concept for a new technology that could slash customer costs. Specialist engineer TP Group gained 2.9% on announcing that it had entered into a nine-year exclusive licensing agreement with Batelle to be a technology partner for their nanotechnology material. Proton therapy system developer Advanced Oncotherapy gained 2.3% amid the generation of positive study results demonstrating the performance of its proprietary proton accelerator.
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