The FTSE 100 has opened higher as investors await a decision on interest rates from the Bank of England with cautious optimism.
Also helping the FTSE and other indices across Europe are reports that the US and China have agreed to remove existing tariffs.
An official from China's Ministry of Commerce is quoted as saying talks between US and Chinese negotiators were ‘constructive’, with progress made on an agreement for a phased removal of the tariffs.
Just before 9am, the UK's benchmark index was up 0.3%, or 21.9 points, to 7,418.56.
Underlying pre-tax was also down, falling 15% to £238m.
Shares in engine maker Rolls-Royce (RR.) were also up despite a profit warning, increasing 1.5% to 788p.
In a trading update, the firm warned that full year operating profit will be at the lower end of guidance, as it takes an exceptional charge of £1.4bn due to continued problems with its Trent 1000 engine.
However, the company did say it is making progress with the engine and has only one major design fix remaining.
Construction business Galliford Try (GFRD) rose 1.9% to 720p as it announced a deal to sell its housebuilding divisions Linden Homes and Partnerships & Regeneration to rival Bovis Homes (BVS) for £1bn.
Bovis is using shares to help pay for the deal, and Galliford Try shareholders will receive a stake of 29.3% in the enlarged group following the sale.
Luxury carmaker Aston Martin Lagonda (AML) accelerated 7.5% to 449p despite swinging to a loss in the third quarter of the year, as weaker demand the UK and Europe continued to pressure wholesale volumes.
For the three months to 30 September, the company reported a loss of £13.5m compared with a profit of £3.1m amid tough trading conditions in the UK and Europe and ongoing pressure on wholesale volumes.
Car parts-to-bicycles retailer Halfords (HFD) reported a 2.5% drop in pre-tax profit to £27.5m for the 26 weeks to 27 September. However, given how low market expectations for the business were, its shares rose over 2% to 156p.
The retailer in part blamed customers putting off ‘big-ticket discretionary purchases’ for the dip in profit, and said it reflects current political and economic uncertainty.
Elsewhere, value retailer The Works (WRKS) plunged a whopping 42% to 45p after it issued a profit warning.
In an update for the 26-week period to 27 October, the firm said like-for-like sales were down 1.9%, and because they were not at the level previously expected, the company now expects full year pre-tax profit to be ‘significantly below current market expectations’.
Its Food and Beverage Solutions division performed strongly with 11% profit growth, though profits in its Sucralose and Primary Products divisions dipped slightly.
The retailer said the revenue decline reflects an ‘expected year of reset’, and the ‘need to address a number of legacy issues across the business’.
Superdry added that it has ‘taken swift and decisive action to implement strategic changes as part of the business reset’, part of a two to three year programme to ‘gain full control of the product and costs.’
It added that it is confident in delivering ‘further benefits from reset initiatives across Superdry in the second half.’
Paddy Power and Betfair owner Flutter Entertainment (FLTR) edged up 0.4% to £80.60 as it announced a 10% rise in third quarter revenue year-on-year.
In a trading update for the three months to 30 September, the firm kept ex-US full year EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) unchanged £420-440m, but raised its US guidance following strong performance in the country, where revenue grew 67%.
Housebuilder Persimmon (PSN) rose 2.1% to £23.23 as the firm reported summer trading in line with expectations.
In a third quarter trading statement, Persimmon said it saw ‘the usual pick-up in customer activity as we moved into the autumn season’, adding that consumer confidence has remained resilient despite Brexit uncertainty and ‘broader challenges surrounding the UK economy’.