London open: Stocks nudge up; RBS drops on branch closures but Indivior surges
London stocks nudged higher early on Friday but gains were limited in quiet trade, with RBS in focus after it announced the closure of one in four branches.
At 0840 GMT, the FTSE was up 0.1% to 7,331.63, while the pound was down 0.3% against the euro at 1.1327 and 0.1% lower versus the dollar at 1.3516.
Investors were mulling news that the US Senate late on Thursday delayed a vote on the Republicans' tax reform bill until Friday due to problems with an amendment to address a large expansion of the federal budget deficit that is expected to result from the measure.
On the data front, Markit's manufacturing purchasing managers' index is at 0930 GMT.
Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said: "How the FTSE and pound perform as the day goes on will likely be dependent on the state of November’s manufacturing PMI. Analysts are expecting a slight increase, from 56.3 to 56.6 month-on-month; if accurate that’d be the best reading in 3 months, and could help sterling pick up where it left off yesterday."
Heavily-weighted mining stocks put in a solid performance as metals prices rose, with Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Antofagasta all higher.
Elsewhere, Indivior surged as it received approval from the US drug regulator to market its once-monthly injectable treatment for moderate to severe opioid use disorder, which analysts believe could lift company sales north of $1bn.
On the downside, Royal Bank of Scotland was in the red after saying it will close 259 branches and cut 680 jobs as customers shift to online banking.
Barclays was weaker as it sold a 7.0% stake in Barclays Africa Group Limited to bring down its total shareholding to 14.9%.
Countryside Properties was on the back foot as Oaktree upped the size of its accelerated bookbuild in the stock due to strong investor demand, selling 67.5m shares at 340p each, representing a 15% stake.
In broker note action, Babcock International was under the cosh after Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock to 'equalweight' from 'overweight' and slashed the price target to 800p from 975p.
Pendragon was lower as JPMorgan initiated coverage of the stock at 'underweight', while Vesuvius was hit by an initiation at 'underweight' by Barclays.
Ashmore was higher after an initiation at 'buy' at Canaccord.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Anglo American (AAL) 1,392.00p 2.43%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,293.50p 1.09%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,358.00p 0.97%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 917.50p 0.88%
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 2,409.00p 0.86%
Shire Plc (SHP) 3,692.50p 0.85%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 2,377.00p 0.83%
Glencore (GLEN) 342.30p 0.80%
Convatec Group (CTEC) 195.50p 0.77%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,528.50p 0.77%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Babcock International Group (BAB) 677.50p -2.80%
Kingfisher (KGF) 329.30p -1.41%
Next (NXT) 4,416.00p -1.36%
Barclays (BARC) 190.90p -1.34%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 309.10p -1.31%
BT Group (BT.A) 257.45p -1.28%
Mediclinic International (MDC) 559.00p -1.15%
3i Group (III) 891.50p -1.05%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 273.90p -0.98%
G4S (GFS) 254.10p -0.97%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Indivior (INDV) 412.30p 11.19%
P2P Global Investments (P2P) 809.50p 2.73%
Inmarsat (ISAT) 495.00p 2.51%
PayPoint (PAY) 942.04p 2.40%
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 2,507.00p 2.04%
CYBG (CYBG) 319.20p 1.72%
Saga (SAGA) 185.70p 1.64%
SIG (SHI) 172.50p 1.59%
Polypipe Group (PLP) 374.70p 1.46%
Evraz (EVR) 290.30p 1.40%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Countryside Properties (CSP) 346.00p -5.08%
Royal Mail (RMG) 422.15p -4.47%
Rank Group (RNK) 238.20p -3.29%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,578.00p -1.93%
Vesuvius (VSVS) 550.50p -1.78%
Stagecoach Group (SGC) 178.30p -1.49%
Elementis (ELM) 268.40p -1.47%
TalkTalk Telecom Group (TALK) 151.00p -1.37%
Restaurant Group (RTN) 282.80p -1.36%
Capital & Counties Properties (CAPC) 258.40p -1.26%