London bucked the downward trend for world markets today as investors in the UK reacted calmly to the news of a nuclear test in North Korea.
The FTSE 100 Index moved 34.2 points higher to 6035.4 by mid-morning, even though the Kospi was down almost 4% in South Korea while shares across continental Europe were also under pressure.
Pharmaceuticals firm Shire led the charge in London after it gained conditional approval from US regulators to market its new hyperactivity drug NRP104. It sent shares in the company more than 9% higher, up 80.5p to 957.5p.
Corus was also on the move amid takeover interest from Indian rival Tata Steel, which last week said it was considering making an offer. Corus shares lifted 17.75p to 498.75p today.
And Party Poker firm PartyGaming lifted almost 1% or quarter of a penny to 42p as investors gambled on internet casinos finding ways around new legislation in the US effectively outlawing online gambling. 888 Holdings was up 2%, or 1.75p to 106.75p, but both PartyGaming and 888 will still be relegated from the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 respectively as a result of larger stocks coming to the market.
PartyGaming will be replaced in the top flight by Experian, which made a solid start to conditional dealing today with a rise 38p to 598p.
Trading in Hogg Robinson shares also started trading, with the corporate travel specialist showing a rise of 5.25p to 95.25p after it priced its second attempt at a flotation at a low level.
Waste management business Biffa enjoyed a strong debut after its demerger from Severn Trent. Shares traded at 273.5p after listing at 260p when the market opened. Biffa’s former parent company was down 6%, or 94.95p at 1439p.