London’s blue chip index trades 35.9 points higher to 6,883.09 in early trading on Thursday. The markets have been buoyed by imports into China increasing in August for the first time in two years.
Investors also anticipate the European Central Bank increasing its QE programme later on Thursday after the region was been hit by disappointing service and manufacturing figures of late.
In corporate news, infrastructure software specialist Micro Focus (MCRO) leads the FTSE risers. The stock charges 21.3% higher to £23.71 on investors sharing $400 million from the agreed $8.8 billion merger with Hewlett Packard’s (HPQ:NYSE) software business.
The market also warmed to an update from electronics retailer Dixons Carphone (DC.). Shares improved 2.4% to 383.2p on beating expectations in the 13 weeks to 30 July. Like-for-like sales increased by 4% during the period thanks to strong demand in Europe, especially in Greece. Management not seeing any impact from the vote for Brexit was also well received.
Elsewhere, British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines (IAG) moves 2.6% higher to 415.6p on Deutsche Bank’s analysts reiterated a 'buy' rating.
The largest climber in London is drone micro-cap Strat Aero (AERO:AIM). Shares jump 64.7% to 0.7p on wining a new £2.5 million contract to survey a project on the Thames Estuary for the Environment Agency.
Ultrasound training simulator provider MedaPhor (MED:AIM) dives 27% to 31p on the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology terminating its contract with the company. The contract could be picked up again if a patent infringement action against MedaPhor is resolved.
LED illumination systems designer ProPhotonix (PPIX:AIM) advances 16.6% to 3.5p on signs that its strategy to win new business and cut costs is working. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) trebled to $900,000 in the six months to 30 June.
Support services group Marlowe (MRL:AIM) improves 13.4% to 190p on buying H2O Chemicals for £2.8 million, a deal that doubles its water treatment division. The company also raised £10 million through a placing at a 1.5% premium.
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