The markets appear to be treading water ahead of the key US non-farm payrolls release later with the FTSE 100 up a modest 0.1% to 6540.11. The move follows falls in US and Asia overnight.
Financials are under pressure with Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) down 1.9% to 155.6p and Aviva (AV.) falling 0.76% to £13.07 but mining stocks provide some support on stronger metals prices with Rio Tinto (RIO) leading the FTSE leaderboard, up 2.2% to £23.92.
Retail property investor Hammerson (HMSO) and joint venture partner Allianz Real Estate secure the ownership of Dundrum Town Centre in Ireland, a shopping and leisure destination as part of a portfolio of market-leading retail assets in Dublin, for €1.23 billion. Hammerson gains 0.79% to 496.4p.
Newspaper publisher Johnston Press (JPR) is up 11.2% to 15.6p as it reveals its i newspaper is achieving a record increase in its readership. Circulation figures were boosted by interest in the EU referendum.
Software firm AVEVA (AVV) falls 1.2% to £16.84 on a mixed update which flags a potential currency benefit from weak sterling, in line trading but also reveals long-standing chief executive Richard Longdon will step down at the end of 2016. Longdon has been with the business for 33 years, serving 17 of those as CEO.
Leisure sector acquisition play Dorcaster (DAR:AIM) joins AIM raising £9.7 million at 161p. We give a rundown on the IPO here. Luxury car retailer and distributor Inchcape (INCH), a running Shares Play of the Week, accelerates 5.5% higher to 677.5p as Berenberg upgrades its recommendation from 'hold' to 'buy' and moves its price target up from 735p to 760p.
Berenberg argues that 'with more than 80% of Inchcape's EBIT generated outside the UK, not only will the company experience an FX translation benefit but, in our view, it will also have greater end-market resilience than many domestic-focused mid-caps.'
Ceramics manufacturer Churchill China (CHH:AIM) clips ahead 12.5p to 722.5p on a positive half-year trading update flagging strong growth across the business 'with particularly good progress' in target hospitality export markets.
'Whilst the result of the recent EU referendum has introduced some uncertainties into our markets, our business is increasingly international and focused on attractive markets with good potential,' the AIM constituent says.
Loo rool distributor Accrol (ACRL:AIM) gains 2.1% to 106p as it announces a new deal to supply product into a global retailer, valued at around £10 million by retail selling price. Accrol management claims it could be a beneficiary of Britain's vote to leave the EU because 50% of its sales are generated from the discount market segment. Vaccine developer Allergy Therapeutics (AGY:AIM) advances 1.3% to 19p as a one-year follow up study reveals its Acarovac Plus treatment reduces dust mites allergy symptoms by 50%. Sales of the treatment have increased to €1 million in Spain and Portugal during 2016 with management forecasting further growth.
Cancer-focused proton beam machine developer Advanced Oncotherapy (AVO:AIM) climbs 5.8% to 117p after non-executive Michael Bradfield buys 10,000 shares in the company for 112p each. He bought 50,000 shares on Thursday and now owns 8.9% of the company.