LONDON ( The Deal) -- U.K. stocks edged higher on Thursday, buoyed by largely positive business updates from FTSE 100 heavy hitters, as markets in most of Europe and Asia were closed for public holidays.
In China, the National Bureau of Statistics Purchasing Managers' Index for April rose to 50.4 from a reading of 50.3, slightly below consensus expectations.
In the U.K., the Nationwide Building Society reported that house prices rose by an annual 10.9% in April, the fastest rate since June 2007.
By mid-morning in London the FTSE 100 was up 0.36% at 6,084.64.
Lloyds Banking Group (LYG) was up more than 4% after reporting a 22% increase in underlying profit to 1.8 billion pounds ($3 billion) and confirming it plans to hold talks in the second half with financial regulators about resuming dividend payments.
Notably, CEO Antonio Horta-Osorio said the bank's priority has shifted from reshaping the lender, which was bailed out by the government in January 2009, toward growth.
British Sky Broadcasting was up almost 4% after announcing third-quarter figures that showed it added 764,000 new paid subscribers and that its 15 million subscribers are on average taking more products from the 21st Century Fox affiliate than a year ago.
Power producer BG Group posted a 13% decline in first-quarter operating profit to $1.97 billion, and repeated a Monday warning that 2014 output would come in at the lower end of guidance because of problems in Egypt. That warning, accompanied by the surprise resignation of CEO Chris Finlayson, has stoked bid speculation this week and on Thursday the stock was up over 2%.