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FTSE Up Marginally After Early Weakness

After a weak start and a subsequent recovery that resulted in a brief spell in positive territory Friday morning, the U.K. market retreated amid stock specific activity and was hovering around the flat line in mid-morning trades.

The benchmark FTSE 100 was up 3.20 points, or 0.03%, at 7,359.62. Earlier, after rising to 7,368.48, the index declined to a low of 7,323.65.

The mood was somewhat cautious with investors looking for news on Brexit and U.S.-China trade discussions.

On the Brexit front, Britain's Brexit minister Secretary Stephen Barclay is scheduled to meet the EU's chief Brexit negotiator in Brussels today. On Thursday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said "we can have a deal" before the Halloween deadline.

DS Smith, Rolls-Royce Holdings, British American Tobacco and Mondi lost 2 to 2.5%.

Unilever, Ashtead Group, Antofagasta, BHP Group, Ferguson, Coca Cola HBC and Compass were down 1 to 1.6%.

BAE Systems shed about 1.6% with investors pressing some sales at the counter despite news about the company getting a $495 million U.S. defense contract for receiver/processors and high band receivers.

Among gainers, Persimmon rose nearly 5% and Kingfisher gained 4.2%, while Taylor Wimpey, EasyJet, Barratt Developments, RBS, ITC, Berkeley, Morrison Supermarkets, Tesco, Next, BT Group and J Sainsbury moved up 2 to 3.75%.

Thomas Cook shares plunged 20% after the company confirmed it needs to find an extra £200 million to plug a financial hole.

The company is reportedly holding last-minute talks to stave off a collapse that would trigger the biggest UK peacetime repatriation.

According to reports, the company has held emergency talks to sell its Nordic airline and tour operating divisions in an attempt to raise money.

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