London open: Stocks rally as investors cheer passing of US tax reform bill
London stocks racked up strong gains in early trade on Monday, with sentiment underpinned by the passing of the US tax reform bill.
At 0840 GMT, the FTSE 100 was up 0.8% to 7,359.48, while the pound was down 0.2% against the dollar at 1.3450 and flat versus the euro at 1.1331.
The US Senate voted 51 to 49 to pass a bill that will implement a slew of changes to the US tax code which will include a big cut in corporation tax from 35% to 20%.
Accendo Markets analyst Henry Croft said: "While the Senate bill will have to be aligned with the lower house’s equivalent bill, this marks a key legislative victory for President Trump who has seen his efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare fail while struggling to maintain a ban on the entry of some foreign nationals.
"The passage of the bill has seen the US dollar rally against both pound sterling and the euro, a trend that will aid the plethora of foreign earning stocks on the FTSE 100."
Brexit was also in focus as Prime Minister Theresa May made her way to Brussels for more talks.
On the corporate front, US-exposed building materials group CRH and equipment rental firm Ashtead were the standout gainers on the FTSE 100 on the back of the passing of the US Senate tax bill.
Broadcaster Sky was a high riser amid news that 21st Century Fox has restarted talks over a possible sale to Walt Disney.
Rio Tinto was on the front foot as it appointed non-executive director Simon Thompson as chairman with effect from 5 March 2018, succeeding Jan du Plessis.
Bus and coach operator National Express rose after saying it has enjoyed a good trading performance across all divisions in the autumn and completed two overseas acquisitions.
Budget airline Ryanair flew higher after reporting a 6% jump in traffic for last month as the load factor edged higher.
Business information and events group Euromoney Institutional Investor fell after it acquired Seven Site Media, trading as TowerXchange, in a transaction of undisclosed value.
In broker note action, Premier Oil gushed higher after it was lifted to 'buy' from 'hold' at Canaccord Genuity, but consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser was weaker after being cut to 'add' from 'buy' at AlphaValue.
On the macroeconomic calendar, the UK construction purchasing managers' index for November is at 0930 GMT. It is expected to have risen from 50.8 to 51.2.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Ashtead Group (AHT) 1,958.00p 2.84%
CRH (CRH) 2,611.00p 2.51%
Sky (SKY) 953.00p 2.47%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,380.00p 2.45%
Carnival (CCL) 4,864.00p 2.10%
Barclays (BARC) 193.35p 2.09%
Ferguson (FERG) 5,465.00p 2.05%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 854.00p 1.91%
Worldpay Group (WPG) 431.80p 1.89%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,410.00p 1.88%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,288.00p -1.53%
Kingfisher (KGF) 326.20p -0.85%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 6,835.00p -0.73%
Next (NXT) 4,402.00p -0.68%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 307.90p -0.48%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 6,349.00p -0.45%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 805.00p -0.19%
National Grid (NG.) 884.05p -0.11%
Tesco (TSCO) 195.30p -0.10%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 919.74p -0.03%
FTSE 250 - Risers
UBM (UBM) 764.00p 3.17%
Grafton Group Units (GFTU) 766.50p 3.16%
Card Factory (CARD) 281.39p 2.92%
IMI (IMI) 1,276.00p 2.90%
PayPoint (PAY) 937.50p 2.63%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 5,885.00p 2.35%
Diploma (DPLM) 1,154.50p 1.99%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,999.00p 1.89%
Caledonia Investments (CLDN) 2,738.70p 1.81%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 202.75p 1.73%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Ultra Electronics Holdings (ULE) 1,263.00p -2.85%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 355.30p -2.26%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 322.00p -2.22%
Drax Group (DRX) 263.30p -2.16%
Inmarsat (ISAT) 500.07p -1.37%
Dechra Pharmaceuticals (DPH) 2,125.00p -1.02%
Workspace Group (WKP) 919.50p -0.92%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 230.00p -0.86%
RDI Reit (RDI) 35.10p -0.79%
Hunting (HTG) 544.50p -0.73%