(Alliance News) - London stocks moved gingerly higher on Thursday with focus remaining on the G20 summit in Japan which kicks off on Friday. Helping the UK's headline stock index higher on Thursday was Kingfisher after it hired a new boss, while a number of ex-dividend stocks provided some resistance at the other end of the index. The FTSE 100 index was up 6.43 points, or 0.1%, at 7,422.82 early Thursday. The FTSE 250 was up 28.73 points, or 0.2%, at 19,289.12, while the AIM All-Share was flat at 924.36 points.The Cboe UK 100 index was up 0.1% at 12,591.64. The Cboe UK 250 was up 0.2% at 17,242.31, while the Cboe UK Small Companies was flat at 11,440.52.In mainland Europe, the CAC 40 in Paris and DAX 30 in Frankfurt were up 0.1% and 0.5% respectively in morning trade. "G-20 leaders have gathered in Japan and this is where the focus is among traders. There is some optimism that some frame work will be agreed on the future talk on trade war between the US and China. It is this optimism which pushed the Asian stocks higher and the same momentum is filtering into the European market today," said Naeem Aslam at ThinkMarkets.China and the US have tentatively agreed to a truce in their trade war, the South China Morning Post and Politico jointly reported on Thursday, ahead of a meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 this weekend.The report says the truce would see the US delay imposing a raft of new tariffs on USD325 billion worth of Chinese products. This would then enable new talks between the countries, in the hopes further negotiations could resolve the disputes.The summit formally opens on Friday in the western Japanese city and will last for two days. The eagerly awaited meeting between Trump and Xi, which will likely draw much of the focus at the summit of significant economies, will take place on Saturday. Ahead of this, however, said Trump said he would impose "very substantial additional tariffs" on Chinese goods if the US and China are not able to reach a trade deal. The deal must include intellectual property theft protections, balancing trade levels and the opening of Chinese markets - the goals set by Washington from the start of the negotiations, Trump added.In Asia on Thursday, the Japanese Nikkei 225 index ended up 1.2%. In China, the Shanghai Composite ended up 0.7%, and the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong is 1.3% higher.The economic events calendar on Thursday has German inflation readings at 1300 BST and the third reading US GDP for the first quarter at 1330 BST. In London, retailer Kingfisher was up 2.4% after the B&Q owner turned to French supermarket chain Carrefour for a new boss. Kingfisher has appointed Thierry Garnier as chief executive officer. Garnier is currently the CEO of Carrefour Asia, where he is responsible for over 350 stores in China and Taiwan. On Sunday, Carrefour announced it had agreed to sell an 80% stake in Carrefour China to Chinese group Suning.com for an enterprise value of EUR1.4 billion. Carrefour China operates a network of 210 hypermarkets and 24 convenience stores. Suning.com, meanwhile, operates 8,881 stores and is the country's third largest B2C e-commerce platform.Garnier will join Kingfisher in the autumn, the retailer said, with the effective date of his appointment as CEO to be announced in due course.Towards the bottom of the FTSE 100 were a number of ex-dividend stocks, including British Land, down 1.6%, British American Tobacco, down 1.5%, and Experian, down 1.0%.Jumping to the top of the FTSE 250 was outsourcer Serco, up 5.2% after the firm said it expects to report "another good performance" in the first half of 2019.The government-services outsourcing firm anticipates 20% growth in underlying trading profit to GBP50 million, with revenue growth of 6% to near GBP1.5 billion. Organic growth is expected at 4%, driven by the Americas and Asia Pacific divisions.Annual revenue expected to be around the top end of Serco's previously stated GBP2.9 billion to GBP3.0 billion range, while the outsourcer held its underlying trading profit guidance at GBP105 million.Order intake has been "extremely strong", Serco said, driven by the signing of contracts for asylum accommodation and support services in the UK.Engineer Senior, meanwhile, slipped 4.0% after Barclays cut the stock to Equal Weight from Overweight. Staffline was down 23% at 115.80 pence after unveiling details of fundraising plans to take in over GBP40 million in order for the recruitment firm to reduce debt.Staffline proposed a placing of up to GBP34 million via an accelerated bookbuild and an open offer of up to GBP7 million at an issue price of 100 pence per share. Proceeds from both the open offer and placing will be used to reduce debt. Staffline shares closed at 150.00p on Wednesday.If the bookbuild does not close or shareholders do not approve resolutions to allot shares and disapply statutory pre-emption rights, the open offer cannot be implemented and Staffline's lenders could demand repayment of all borrowings, "which the group cannot afford"."In such circumstances, the board believes that the only realistic option for the company would be to seek to further renegotiate or refinance the credit facility, and there can be no certainty that the group would be able to do so on commercially acceptable terms or at all," said Staffline, which added that it has agreed with lenders to amend that credit facility.Earlier in June, Staffline made a final update to its national minimum wage compliance liabilities, raising the total amount to GBP15.1 million from GBP7.9 million, including GBP500,000 of adviser costs, all of which is expected to be a cash cost in 2019.Car seller Pendragon dipped 2.5%. Chief Executive Mark Herbert will be leaving the car dealer by "mutual agreement" at the end of June.The company said it has started to look for his replacement and, until such an appointment is concluded, Chief Operating Officer Martin Casha and Chief Financial Officer Mark Willis will lead the business on a day to day basis.As a result of Herbert's departure, the company said the strategic update it planned to unveil in September will now be postponed until a new boss is found.A fortnight ago, Pendragon issued a profit warning as it braced for a small underlying loss in 2019 due to market conditions and excess stock across the business.
(Alliance News) - London stocks were down at midday Thursday after Bank of England policymakers kept UK interest rates unchanged, while cutting its forecast for the country's economic index or