(Sharecast News) - London stocks had edged a little further into the black by midday on Thursday as investors eyed the latest US inflation data and a policy announcement from the European Central Bank.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.4% at 7,108.30.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: "US inflation figures could set the tone for the rest of the month, let alone the rest of the day when they are released later. A higher-than-expected number could put the markets back in panic mode over rising prices, even if the US Federal Reserve has done its best to convince investors the trajectory of interest rates is more closely tied to the employment market.
"The European Central Bank meets later with little expectation of any change in emphasis let alone policy but any sign that the ECB might seek to taper its support for the economy could also provoke a shock."
In equity markets, Auto Trader rallied after it said a dramatic shift to buying cars online during pandemic lockdowns helped it to limit full-year losses and reinstate its dividend. The company reported a 37% fall in pre-tax profit to £157.4m as revenue fell 29% to £262.8m. A dividend of 5p a share was declared.
BT was also a high riser after multibillionaire telecoms dealmaker Patrick Drahi bought a 12.1% stake in the group to capitalise on its involvement in the rollout of faster broadband in the UK. Drahi has bought 1.2 billion BT shares through Altice UK, which he wholly owns.
Outsourcer Mitie gained after it posted a slump in full-year profit but said 2022 profit was set to be "materially ahead" of its prior expectations.
CMC Markets rose after the online trading platform reported a 127% surge in full-year profits, with customer numbers up as it benefited from heightened volatility due to the pandemic.
On the downside, Sainsbury's was weaker as it traded without entitlement to the dividend.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,108.30 0.39%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 22,661.97 -0.43%
techMARK (TASX) 4,411.62 0.34%
FTSE 100 - Risers
Auto Trader Group (AUTO) 616.20p 6.65%
BT Group (BT.A) 188.75p 3.06%
CRH (CDI) (CRH) 3,745.00p 1.60%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,530.00p 1.59%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,401.40p 1.52%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 8,252.00p 1.50%
Evraz (EVR) 633.00p 1.31%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 503.80p 1.31%
Rightmove (RMV) 630.40p 1.25%
Pearson (PSON) 862.80p 1.24%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 257.10p -1.91%
Next (NXT) 8,038.00p -1.66%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 908.40p -1.45%
Bunzl (BNZL) 2,250.00p -1.40%
British Land Company (BLND) 511.00p -1.35%
Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 2,191.00p -1.35%
Compass Group (CPG) 1,624.50p -1.31%
Halma (HLMA) 2,645.00p -1.31%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,509.00p -1.28%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,623.00p -1.25%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Mitie Group (MTO) 77.50p 8.09%
Beazley (BEZ) 316.40p 2.96%
Oxford Biomedica (OXB) 1,180.00p 2.43%
Serco Group (SRP) 136.80p 1.63%
Quilter (QLT) 156.80p 1.42%
BB Healthcare Trust (Red) (BBH) 187.00p 1.41%
Paragon Banking Group (PAG) 547.00p 1.39%
Ashmore Group (ASHM) 404.80p 1.35%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 453.40p 1.12%
Fidelity China Special Situations (FCSS) 420.50p 1.08%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Restaurant Group (RTN) 131.20p -6.02%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 1,998.00p -4.49%
Shaftesbury (SHB) 614.00p -3.23%
Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 423.80p -2.93%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 1,293.00p -2.78%
easyJet (EZJ) 959.00p -2.76%
RHI Magnesita N.V. (DI) (RHIM) 4,374.00p -2.67%
PureTech Health (PRTC) 380.00p -2.56%
Ultra Electronics Holdings (ULE) 2,064.00p -2.55%
888 Holdings (888) 386.00p -2.48%
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