London open: Stocks little changed as investors sift through corporate news
(ShareCast News) - London stocks were little changed in early trade, while the pound held firm against the dollar as investors sifted through corporate news.
At 0830 BST, the FTSE 100 was up 0.1% to 7,118.56, while the pound was 0.3% higher against the dollar at 1.2825.
There are no major UK data releases due, but Bank of England Governor Mark Carney is due to give a speech at 1630 BST. In the US, initial jobless claims and the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing survey are at 1330 BST.
TopTradr analyst Tony Cross said: "Following the announcement of the UK election investors are eager to hear from the Bank of England Governor Mark Carney who today will be speaking in Washington. The British pound has benefited from a string of positive performances from the domestic economy and it will be interesting to hear how Carney positions these."
In corporate news, Unilever shares rose after it upped its quarterly dividend 12% as underlying sales grew 2.9% in the first three months of the year, despite sales volumes remaining in the red for the third consecutive quarter.
Rio Tinto was also in the black despite saying that first quarter copper production fell 37% month on month and year on year due to issues at its mines in Chile and Indonesia. Rio cut its mined copper guidance to between 500,000 and 550,000 tonnes for the year from its previous guidance of between 525,000 and 665,000 tonnes.
Paper and plastics product supplier Essentra rallied after confirming that trading for the financial year to date had been in line with the board's expectations.
Sky ticked up a touch after saying it has signed a multi-year $250m (£195m) co-production deal with US television network HBO as operating profits fell 11% to £1.01bn for the nine months to April.
Asset manager Man Group surged as it reported a 10% jump in funds under management for the first quarter, boosted in part by a recent acquisition.
Transport operator Go-Ahead also racked up strong gains after it reiterated its expectations for the full year as it said service levels on the Govia Thameslink Railway, which it runs, have stabilised following recent industrial action.
WPP was boosted by well-received results from French peer Publicis, but equipment rental firm Ashtead retreated after results from US peer United Rental showed rental rates were under pressure in the first quarter.
Acacia Mining shares lost their shine after the company's first-quarter results showed a 15% increase in gold production but that sales were lower than the same period last year due to the Tanzanian government's gold and copper export ban.
Technical products supplier Diploma edged lower as it announced the acquisition of Abacus ALS, the largest privately owned supplier of in-vitro diagnostics products in Australia and New Zealand, for up to £15.7m (AU$26m).
Barratt Developments, Petrofac, Smurfit Kappa, Mondi, Hochschild, John Laing, and Inmarsat were in the red as their stock went ex-dividend.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,118.56 0.06%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,415.90 -0.01%
techMARK (TASX) 3,407.42 0.11%
FTSE 100 - Risers
WPP (WPP) 1,718.00p 1.90%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,794.00p 1.49%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,074.00p 1.44%
Unilever (ULVR) 3,990.50p 1.35%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 833.00p 1.22%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 64.30p 1.01%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 5,234.00p 0.95%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,361.00p 0.74%
Pearson (PSON) 623.00p 0.73%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 2,483.00p 0.69%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Ashtead Group (AHT) 1,562.00p -3.82%
Intu Properties (INTU) 275.90p -3.80%
BAE Systems (BA.) 618.00p -1.98%
Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 1,954.00p -1.71%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 578.50p -1.62%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,525.00p -1.29%
Kingfisher (KGF) 332.10p -1.07%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,926.00p -1.03%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 7,085.00p -0.98%
British Land Company (BLND) 647.00p -0.92%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Go-Ahead Group (GOG) 1,819.00p 5.21%
Man Group (EMG) 150.80p 4.43%
CLS Holdings (CLI) 1,966.00p 3.64%
Senior (SNR) 212.70p 2.56%
Essentra (ESNT) 515.00p 2.39%
Cobham (COB) 129.30p 2.29%
Evraz (EVR) 210.60p 1.99%
Clarkson (CKN) 2,848.00p 1.79%
Auto Trader Group (AUTO) 404.30p 1.69%
Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 338.50p 1.65%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 833.50p -4.36%
Acacia Mining (ACA) 438.60p -3.75%
Debenhams (DEB) 53.30p -3.62%
Inmarsat (ISAT) 798.50p -3.15%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 267.40p -2.62%
John Laing Group (JLG) 283.90p -2.51%
Hansteen Holdings (HSTN) 124.10p -2.44%
Unite Group (UTG) 640.50p -2.36%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 203.50p -2.30%
Aggreko (AGK) 839.00p -2.10%