Defensive issues led the way higher on Thursday despite it being an up day for FTSE 350 stocks, possibly denoting underlying caution on the part of investors.
US stocks closed higher on Thursday, drawing a close to a tumultuous session on the Street and extending their rally to a third straight day.
The focus at the end of the week will be squarely on the US non-farm payrolls report for the month of May.
Stock markets on Continent finished the session on a mixed note as some traders expressed disappointment at what they said was a less dovish than expected policy decision from the European Central Bank.
Mitchells & Butlers shares are "cheap as chips", Berenberg said on Thursday as it bumped up its stance on the stock to buy' from 'hold' and lifted the price target to 360p from 265p.
Home shopping company Findel reported a jump in full-year profit and revenue on Wednesday, thanks in part to a solid performance form Studio, its online value retailer.
Google has agreed to buy business intelligence, data applications and embedded analytics platform Looker in a $2. 6bn cash deal.
Analysts at Canaccord Genuity raised their target price for British software firm Ideagen from 160p to 170p on Thursday, citing the group's "confident" growth outlook and an "attractive" valuation as their reasoning.
Analysts at Jefferies initiated coverage on Southend Airport owner Stobart at 'buy' on Thursday, saying that progress on several fronts might drive the shares higher.
London stocks extended their gains amid slight optimism on global trade even as the European Central Bank warned of the impact that trade protectionism might have, saying that rate-setters in Frankfurt had discussed various contingency plans, including the possible re-start of its quantitative easing programme.
MS International on Thursday reported that profits and sales jumped as defence revenues climbed after the company "significantly" expanded its presence within the global market.
Pets At Home revealed on Thursday that chief executive Peter Pritchard had disposed of 23,683 ordinary shares in the FTSAE 250-listed retailer.
America's shortfall on trade with the rest of the world shrank slightly in April amid a decline in both exports and imports.
The European Central Bank pushed back on expectations for the date of its first rate hike, judging that an "ample degree" of monetary policy stimulus was still needed, given the uncertainty around geopolitics, trade protectionism and vulnerabilities in emerging markets.
London's FTSE 250 was flat in afternoon trade on Thursday, inching just 0. 01% lower to 19,139. 81, with specialist retirement services provider Just Group leading the index's fallers.
Wall Street stocks turned red at the open on Thursday, threatening to put a halt to two days of stellar gains.
US President Donald Trump threatened China with an extra $300bn tariffs on Chinese imports on Thursday and that a decision might come in the "next two weeks", but added that he believes China wants a trade deal.
London's FTSE 100 was up 0. 5% at 7,258. 89 in afternoon trade on Thursday.
US labour costs fell more quickly than expected at the start of 2019, as the rate of increase in hourly compensation was revised lower.
The governor of the Bank of Russia has confirmed that an interest rate cut is possible when the central bank next meets.