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STOCKS NEWS EUROPE-UK small caps close flat, sharply underperform

The FTSE Small Cap index closes flat, significantly underperforming strong gains by both the blue chips and the mid caps , ahead 0.9 percent and 0.5 percent respectively.

Sepura gains 3.8 percent after an upbeat first half trading update from the digital communications firm, highlighting new business wins in North America.

"The company is performing in line with market full year expectations. A healthy order book and robust pipeline of opportunities offers confidence in ongoing progress," Liberum Capital says in a note repeating its "buy" rating on Sepura.

AFC Energy jumps 13.8 percent, in volumes of more than ten times its 90-day average, after announcing an equity investment of 8.7 million pounds by Ervington Investments Ltd, whose main stakeholder is Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.

The funds raised will strengthen AFC Energy's balance sheet and provide it with additional cash resources to execute its long term growth strategy and invest in its low cost fuel cell technology, the company said.

Reuters messaging rm://alistair.smout.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net

Keywords: MARKETS EUROPE STOCKSNEWS