The FTSE 100 makes a positive start but smaller companies Renold and Promethean World crash on profits warnings.
Overnight gains in the US and Asia saw the blue chip index jump 24 points in early trading although it has subsided to trade at 5,832, 6 points up.
Tate & Lyle (TATE.L), a member of Citywire Top Stocks, was an early leader jumping 2.4% to 690.5p after Credit Suisse raised the sweeteners group to outperform and lifted its target price for the shares to 750p from 700p.
Tesco (TSCO.L) shed another 0.8% to 325.2p on further consideration of yesterday’s disappointing half-year results.
Financials also made gains led by Standard Chartered (STAN.L) up 1.2% to £14.21.
The release of US jobless claims at 12.30pm will give another final clue to the state of the American economy before the important non-farm payrolls numbers on Friday. Positive jobs data yesterday from the US helped lift markets.
Brent oil futures have edged higher towards $109 per barrel after a big drop yesterday caused by growing awareness of the slowdown in the global economy.
The Bank of England and the European Central Bank will announce their monthly decision on interest rates with speculation that ECB president Mario Draghi may comment on the timing of a possible bailout of Spain.
But Renold (RNO.L) grabbed the spotlight as shares in the industrial chains and gears maker tumbled nearly 7p to 19.6p after warning that full-year operating profits would be significantly below market expectations.
The Manchester-based firm said demand continued to be week and reported first half sales were down around 6%.
In its last financial year, the 12 months to end of March 2012, operating profits nearly doubled to £14.1 million. Today’s fall cuts Renold’s market value to £59 million. The stock is a top holding in the Rights & Issues investment trust.
Promethean World (PRWP.L) was another smaller company casualty of the sluggish economy. Shares in the provider of interactive learning technology crashed 36% or 8.6p to just over 15p after third quarter sales slumped 41.2%. The group has been hit by the cuts in education spending in the US and Europe. The fall leaves the company valued at £32 million.
There was better news from Halfords (HFD.L) which advanced 36p or 13.5% as the car parts and cycles retailer reported strong summer trading and picked former Pets at Home boss Matt Davies as its new chief executive.
Ted Baker (TED.L) jumped 31.5p or 3.5% as first half profits rose 10.4% to £9.4 million although the fashion chain cautioned that the outlook for the second half remained uncertain.
Among the bigger stocks First Group (FGP.L) bounced 2.6% or 5p higher to 198.5p as the transport group considers suing the government over the fiasco over the West Coast train line contract.
Mining giant BHP Billiton (BLT.L) dipped 14.5p to £19.28 on a report that it was among companies vying for a stake in Petrobras of Brazil’s Gulf of Mexico oil fields.
Carillion (CLLN.L) added 4p or 1.5% to 281p after the support services and construction firm said third quarter trading was is in line with expectations and reiterated its guidance for the full year.
For the rest of today's risers and fallers see our FTSE home page.