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UK stocks open slightly higher

Friday, 12th January 2018
UK stocks opened a touch higher on Friday after offshore markets rallied and a takeover bid for engineering group GKN helped boost industrial plays.

At 0857, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 4.13 points at 7,767.07.

GKN surged 25% after the company said it rejected a takeover bid from Melrose Industries pitched at 405p per share, which it described as 'entirely opportunistic'. The bid comprised 80% new Melrose shares and 20% cash.

Fellow engineer Smiths Group gained 3.3% after announcing that new US tax legislation would cut its effective tax rate to between 23% and 25% from the 2019 financial year.

Elsewhere, a profit and revenue guidance upgrade from insurance company Lighthouse Group sent its shares 13% higher.

House builder Bovis Homes, meanwhile, rose 3.8% after confirming annual earnings would meet its expectations.

Market darling XP Power gained 3.3% after the electronics hardware company posted a large boost in fourth-quarter revenue, while its order book continued to swell.

B&M European Value Retail was also having a good morning after the real estate investment trust said it was confident it would meet market expectations for earnings, as revenue rose in the third quarter. Its shares added 3%.

Mitchells & Butlers pared early losses to rise 0.8% after the pub and restaurant owner boosted sales over Christmas.

Delays at the Woodsmith mine project in North Yorkshire sent shares in Sirius Minerals down 1.7%.

Somero Enterprises, which offers laser-guided products to level concrete, upgraded its annual earnings and revenue guidance as it expanded into new geographies. Its shares added 4.8%.

Language translation software provider SDL gained 4.2% after it grew annual revenue by around 8%, despite a number of deals not closing as expected.

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