London open: Stocks nudge up ahead of industrial production, manufacturing data
London stocks nudged a touch higher in early trade on Friday as investors eyed the release of key manufacturing and industrial production data and the continuation of Brexit talks.
At 0825 GMT, the FTSE was up 0.1% to 7,493.20, while the pound was up 0.1% against the euro at 1.1299 and down 0.1% versus the dollar at 1.3139.
After a largely forgettable week, Friday morning brings some potentially intriguing nuggets of data for the UK, with the latest manufacturing and industrial production figures.
The former is expected to fall from 0.4% to 0.3% in September month-on-month, while the latter is expected to nudge higher, from 0.2% to 0.3%. Meanwhile, analysts are expecting the goods trade balance figures to show the deficit shrank from £14.2bn in August to £12.9bn in September.
Manufacturing and industrial production figures are due at 0930 GMT, along with the goods trade balance.
Meanwhile, Brexit talks - which resume this week - will continue to be in focus.
Oanda analyst Craig Erlam said: "Given how past negotiations have gone I’m not optimistic that the gap between the two sides will be closed yet.
"With Theresa May’s looking very vulnerable at home and with the EU not wanting a change of leadership at this stage, it’s possible that the Prime Ministers weakness may help the negotiations progress in order to give her a domestic boost. That said, the EU isn’t going to be overly charitable when it comes to May’s cause and so the UK will have to make more effort on the bill before any progress can be made."
In corporate news, Vedanta Resources was in the black as it reported revenue growth of 39% year-on-year in its first half to $6.8bn, while EBITDA was up 37% to $1.7bn.
Galliford Try was on the front foot after the company said its council partnerships arm has benefited from "increased certainty" following recent government announcements and has a record order book, while housebuilding sales rates and the construction order book have remained unchanged since the year end.
Student accommodation developer and manager Unite Group nudged up after exchanging contracts to acquire a development site in Leeds on a subject-to-planning basis.
Plumbing and heating products distributor Ferguson - formerly Wolseley – advanced as it agreed to sell its Nordics building materials distribution business, Stark Group, to an affiliate of private equity firm Lone Star Funds for €1.03bn on a debt-free and cash-free basis.
On the downside, Ultra Electronics fell sharply after saying that a decision from the US Department of Justice about its proposed acquisition of NYSE-listed Sparton is now expected at the end of March 2018. Ultra Electronics was also cut to ‘sell’ from ‘hold’ at Berenberg on Friday.
Capita ticked down as it agreed with the Financial Conduct Authority to pay up to £66m to investors who suffered losses due to a high-risk investment scheme.
Shares in luxury fashion house Burberry were under the cosh again after a downgrade to ‘underperform’ at Bernstein, while Serco was under pressure after a downgrade to ‘sell’ from ‘hold’ at Liberum Capital.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Shire Plc (SHP) 3,595.00p 1.35%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 619.00p 1.14%
Ferguson (FERG) 5,370.00p 1.03%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 2,612.00p 0.73%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,704.50p 0.72%
Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) 415.90p 0.70%
St James's Place (STJ) 1,154.00p 0.70%
Imperial Brands (IMB) 3,173.50p 0.62%
Glencore (GLEN) 365.15p 0.59%
3i Group (III) 945.50p 0.59%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,731.00p -3.13%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 1,915.00p -0.57%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 934.00p -0.53%
Bunzl (BNZL) 2,300.00p -0.35%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 228.50p -0.31%
Persimmon (PSN) 2,654.00p -0.30%
BAE Systems (BA.) 562.50p -0.27%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 6,521.00p -0.26%
Sky (SKY) 918.00p -0.22%
SSE (SSE) 1,391.00p -0.22%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Nostrum Oil & Gas (NOG) 383.20p 2.73%
OneSavings Bank (OSB) 408.70p 2.61%
Renewi (RWI) 104.80p 1.95%
Coats Group (COA) 86.50p 1.05%
Virgin Money Holdings (UK) (VM.) 286.70p 0.92%
Close Brothers Group (CBG) 1,356.00p 0.89%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 683.00p 0.89%
CYBG (CYBG) 315.10p 0.83%
Worldwide Healthcare Trust (WWH) 2,561.00p 0.83%
Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 3,127.00p 0.77%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Ultra Electronics Holdings (ULE) 1,637.00p -4.66%
Serco Group (SRP) 108.00p -4.09%
Royal Mail (RMG) 377.20p -1.51%
Ascential (ASCL) 364.90p -1.38%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 435.10p -1.14%
Inmarsat (ISAT) 511.50p -1.06%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 988.50p -1.00%
Pershing Square Holdings Ltd NPV (PSH) 1,026.00p -0.77%
Sirius Minerals (SXX) 26.12p -0.68%
Sophos Group (SOPH) 595.50p -0.58%