U.K. stocks eked out modest gains on Thursday and the pound advanced against all rivals after a government report showed U.K. retail sales grew unexpectedly in August.
Retail sales volume, including auto fuel, gained 0.3 percent month-on-month in August, slower than the 0.9 percent increase seen in July and in contrast to the expected fall of 0.2 percent. This was the second consecutive rise in sales volume.
The benchmark FTSE 100 was up 18 points or 0.25 percent at 7,349 in late opening deals after closing 0.4 percent higher in the previous session.
Glencore edged up 0.3 percent after raising $125 million through issue of convertible bonds.
Travel and insurance firm Saga Plc dropped 1 percent after it announced the appointment of James Quin as Group Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director with effect from January 1, 2019.
Satellite company Inmarsat rallied 1.3 percent after announcing a strategic collaboration with Panasonic.
Oil rig construction and maintenance firm Lamprell jumped 4.5 percent after unveiling its first-half results.
Mining giant Rio Tinto climbed 2 percent after it outlined a $3.2 billion share buyback program.