Aerospace, hospitality and oil stocks are driving early progress for UK stocks as Omicron concerns subside, with the benchmark FTSE 100 0.73% at 7,174.48 at 9am. Oil majors BP (BP.) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) added more than 1% each as crude prices jumped more than 2% after Saudi Arabia raised its crude prices.

Heavyweight AstraZeneca (AZN) climbed 0.6% to £82.39 after a report quoted the drugmaker saying it had been studying listing of a new vaccines division.

Homebuilder Taylor Wimpey (TW.) added 1% following a report that activist investor Elliot Management had bought a stake in the company.

Britain's economy looks set to grow more slowly than previously thought this year and in 2023 due to global supply chain problems and the government must encourage longer-term business investment, said the Confederation of British industry.

Mid-caps were also firmer, the FTSE 250 up 0.65% at 22,793.27, with airline stocks Wizz Air (WIZZ) and Easyjet (EZJ) gaining 1.5% each.

London Stock Exchange (LSE) rose nearly 1.5% to £66.16 as it unveiled plans to acquire riosk management specialist Quantile for up to £274 million.

BUYBACKS PLANS

Cyber security company Darktrace (DARK) plans to kickstart a share buyback programme of up to four million ordinary shares, with £30 million allocated to the scheme.

US broadcaster Discovery is reportedly in talks to create a joint venture with BT Sport in a move that would hijack the sale to sports streaming service DAZN, according to the Financial Times.

BT (BT.A), which has been the subject of takeover speculation recently, saw its shares rise 1.4% to 171p.

Clarkson (CKN) said results for year to 31 December 2021 are anticipated to be ahead of current market expectations with underlying profit before tax now expected to be not less than £65 million.

Victrex (VCT)  rallied 3% to £24.18 after flagging revenue and underlying profit growth of 15% and 21% respectively and upped its dividend.

The company also said that it is facing sizeable currency headwinds and increased raw material and energy costs.

Marshall Motor (MMH) has recommends shareholders accept 400p per share offer from Constellation.

AG Barr (BAG) has bought an initial circa 60% equity stake in MOMA Foods Limited with an agreed path to full ownership over the next 3 years. The transaction is not expected to have a material impact on the Group's profits for the current financial year ending 30 January 2022.

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Issue Date: 06 Dec 2021