(Sharecast News) - London stocks nudged higher in early trade on Thursday as investors waded through a raft of corporate news and eyed the latest policy announcement from the European Central Bank.
At 0850 BST, the FTSE 100 was up 0.1% at 7,004.89.
Oanda market analyst Jeffrey Halley said: "Today's main event will be the European Central Bank policy meeting. This meeting has attracted more attention than is usual as markets await further details around how the ECB will police its new fixed 2.0% inflation strategy/target.
"With core inflation expected to ease well below 2.0% in 2022, the implication is that the ECB will have to maintain an aggressive easing bias for the foreseeable future to try and meet that 2.0% target."
In equity markets, 3i Group was the top gainer on the FTSE 100 after saying it made a strong start to the financial year as its Action retail business recovered from the impact of the pandemic.
Morgan Sindall surged to the top of the FTSE 250 after saying that full-year results were set to be "significantly ahead" of its previous expectations as trading has been strong across the group since its last update in April.
Online trading platform IG Group rallied after it upgraded its medium-term guidance and reported record full-year profit and revenue, as it benefited from high market volatility.
Howden Joinery gained after saying it swung to a profit in the first half following strong sales growth.
Volution was also on the rise after it said revenue and earnings for the full year were set to be ahead of market expectations.
On the downside, Unilever slumped as the consumer goods conglomerate reported higher-than-expected underlying sales growth for the second quarter but cut full-year operating margin forecasts due to rising costs.
NatWest was weaker as the government announced a new plan to cut its stake in the bank.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,004.89 0.09%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 22,736.14 0.86%
techMARK (TASX) 4,410.27 0.62%
FTSE 100 - Risers
3i Group (III) 1,256.50p 3.67%
Flutter Entertainment (CDI) (FLTR) 12,875.00p 3.58%
Royal Mail (RMG) 532.40p 3.14%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 174.70p 3.12%
Whitbread (WTB) 3,088.00p 2.52%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 716.40p 2.46%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,456.00p 2.39%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 162.60p 2.20%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 155.60p 2.07%
Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 2,169.00p 1.78%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Unilever (ULVR) 4,115.00p -4.37%
Persimmon (PSN) 2,919.00p -3.06%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RKT) 6,273.00p -1.40%
NATWEST GROUP PLC ORD 100P (NWG) 197.20p -1.18%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 2,575.00p -1.08%
Diageo (DGE) 3,431.00p -1.02%
National Grid (NG.) 913.60p -0.86%
Severn Trent (SVT) 2,671.00p -0.85%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 8,398.00p -0.72%
Avast (AVST) 577.60p -0.65%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Morgan Sindall Group (MGNS) 2,370.00p 12.06%
IG Group Holdings (IGG) 865.00p 4.85%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 69.88p 4.21%
easyJet (EZJ) 836.40p 3.16%
Carnival (CCL) 1,510.80p 3.10%
Volution Group (FAN) 467.00p 3.09%
Inchcape (INCH) 839.50p 3.01%
FirstGroup (FGP) 81.90p 2.95%
Tyman (TYMN) 443.50p 2.90%
WH Smith (SMWH) 1,661.00p 2.88%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Pennon Group (PNN) 1,236.00p -2.60%
Ninety One (N91) 226.20p -2.08%
Investec (INVP) 277.10p -1.77%
Rank Group (RNK) 158.40p -1.61%
Premier Foods (PFD) 104.40p -1.14%
Cranswick (CWK) 3,890.00p -0.97%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 407.30p -0.95%
Elementis (ELM) 151.50p -0.92%
Network International Holdings (NETW) 351.00p -0.54%
Tate & Lyle (TATE) 737.40p -0.51%
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