Portfolio

London open: Stocks edge up as sterling slips on Brexit woes

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Tuesday 20 Aug 2019

London open: Stocks edge up as sterling slips on Brexit woes

(Sharecast News) - London stocks edged higher in early trade on Tuesday following healthy gains in the previous session.
At 0825 BST, the FTSE 100 was up 0.2% at 7,201.41, having ended firmly higher on Monday on the back of central bank stimulus hopes and renewed optimism over Sino-US trade relations.

Meanwhile, the pound was down 0.2% against the dollar and the euro at 1.2098 and 1.0921, respectively, as it emerged that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has written to EU Council President Donald Tusk calling for the Brexit backstop to be replaced.

Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com, said: "Sterling is under pressure as Boris's letter to Donald Tusk indicated he's playing this for real.

"Cable fell again, having come off its lows in the last few days as speculators trimmed their short exposure. GBPUSD dropped a few pips to regain the 1.20 handle. The pair had needed to clear 1.220 to suggest peak uncertainty had passed, but having found no real bid north of 1.2150 the downside opened up again. There could be a lot more negativity for the pound as September unfolds.

"Boris Johnson's letter to Donald Tusk was pretty clear on what needs to happen to avoid no-deal. The backstop is unviable. If the EU doesn't budge, look to the G7 this weekend."

In equity markets, AstraZeneca was the standout gainer as the pharmaceuticals giant said results from a clinical trial of its type 2 diabetes drug for the treatment of patients with heart failure met its primary objective.

Persimmon was trading up even as it reported a drop in first-half profit and revenues, as it focuses on improving its customer service.

Specialist engineering company IMI was making gains as it announced the proposed acquisition of US valve and flow control products manufacturer PBM for $85m (£70.3m).

Energy services company Wood Group ticked higher after saying it swung to a first-half profit and announcing the sale of its nuclear business for £250m in cash, which it will use to reduce debt. The company also backed its full-year guidance.

On the downside, miner BHP retreated after it posted its best full-year figures for five years and handed out a record dividend as it cashed in on higher commodity prices, but results still fell short of expectations. Underlying profit rose to $9.12bn from $8.93bn year on year, but was still lower than expectations of $9.4bn.The company announced a dividend of 78 cents a share, meaning that it will hand back $3.9bn to investors in addition to $17bn already announced.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,201.41 0.16%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,127.98 0.16%
techMARK (TASX) 3,832.39 0.44%

FTSE 100 - Risers

AstraZeneca (AZN) 7,378.00p 1.33%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 826.00p 1.30%
3i Group (III) 1,093.50p 1.06%
Glencore (GLEN) 235.40p 1.05%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,881.50p 1.05%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 2,139.00p 1.04%
British Land Company (BLND) 490.00p 0.99%
Compass Group (CPG) 2,078.00p 0.97%
Sage Group (SGE) 700.71p 0.73%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 1,608.60p 0.69%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

BHP Group (BHP) 1,743.40p -2.13%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 4,031.50p -0.82%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 455.00p -0.78%
Aviva (AV.) 361.20p -0.63%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 187.17p -0.62%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 225.90p -0.57%
ITV (ITV) 109.15p -0.55%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,731.20p -0.48%
DCC (DCC) 6,604.00p -0.48%
Barclays (BARC) 139.96p -0.46%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Future (FUTR) 1,067.67p 2.27%
Senior (SNR) 201.00p 2.13%
Sirius Minerals (SXX) 9.21p 2.12%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 460.00p 2.04%
Spirent Communications (SPT) 178.87p 1.98%
Amigo Holdings (AMGO) 150.00p 1.90%
Big Yellow Group (BYG) 1,002.00p 1.88%
Cranswick (CWK) 2,626.00p 1.86%
Man Group (EMG) 165.50p 1.75%
TI Fluid Systems (TIFS) 162.60p 1.62%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Ted Baker (TED) 890.50p -2.57%
HICL Infrastructure (HICL) 163.29p -1.40%
Royal Mail (RMG) 197.15p -1.33%
CYBG (CYBG) 146.45p -1.25%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 134.97p -1.12%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 1,566.81p -0.96%
Coats Group (COA) 72.80p -0.95%
Meggitt (MGGT) 609.16p -0.88%
Stagecoach Group (SGC) 128.26p -0.88%
Greggs (GRG) 2,006.00p -0.79%

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