Source - SMW
London's FTSE 100 closed higher on Friday, with European indices buoyed by the lingering goodwill following Mario Draghi's parting QE and rate-cut gift, although sterling's rise against the dollar and euro hurt exporters including British American Tobacco, AstraZeneca and Diageo.

At 16.30, the blue chip benchmark closed 22.79 points higher at 7,367.46.


Lloyds and Barclays rose 5.4% to 54.7p 5.2% to 156.5p respectively.

The London Stock Exchange advanced 2.3% or 164p to £74.16 after rejecting a surprise £32bn offer received from Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) and cutting off hopes of further talks. Instead, the LSE plans to push ahead with its $27bn acquisition of data and trading group Refinitiv.

Power utility SSE sparked up 25p to £11.91 on the back of news that it had agreed to sell its retail energy business to OVO for £500m, including debt.

Pub chain JD Wetherspoon eased off by 1p to £15.49 despite posting a rise in annual sales, as its underlying profit slipped as cost pressures dented margins.


Recruitment company SThree added 2.7% to trade at 301.5p, after it reported a 4% rise in third-quarter fee revenue, as a jump in contract and overseas revenue offset weakness for permanent positions, particularly in the UK.

Online gambling services provider Gan surged 18.6% higher to 86p as growth in the budding US waging market helped it deliver record earnings.

The company also said that although a formal sales process had attracted 'multiple' bids, none were considered high enough and it had decided to continue to go it alone.

Toys, games and giftware distributor Character cheapened 2.7% to 360p on a full year profit warning blamed on disruption in Scandinavia and margin pressure caused by the weakening of the pound against the US dollar.

Ukraine-focused Regal Petroleum was flat at 32.2p after it booked a 71% fall in first-half profit, owing to it reaping a one-off gain from an impairment reversal in the previous year.

Revenue, however, rose 27% to $31.3m, and gross profit climbed to $13.9m, up from $11.9m.

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