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STOCKS NEWS EUROPE-UK small cap index flat, outperforms FTSE 100

The FTSE Small Cap index is broadly flat in early trading, outperforming a 0.1 percent fall on the blue-chip FTSE 100 index and on the FTSE 250 mid-cap sector .

Gardening supplies group William Sinclair slumps 12.3 percent after issuing a profit warning and adding that its chief executive will step down.

Among the gainers, African-focused investment company Lonrho tops the FTSE Small Cap index's leaderboard, rising 5 percent after investment bank Jefferies begins its coverage of the stock with a "buy" rating.

Jefferies writes in a research note that Lonrho's agribusiness has strong potential for growth.

"It is already the group's largest unit, strong organic sales growth is starting to build, a base of global blue chip retailers has been attracted and key relationships are deepening. Divisional profitability is now responding. We expect the unit to be the primary driver of the group's financials and consider this the most scalable unit currently across the group," writes Jefferies.

Reuters messaging rm://sudip.kargupta.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net

Keywords: MARKETS EUROPE STOCKSNEWS