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09 Mar 2021 | 08:32

London open: Stocks steady as investors pause for breath

(Sharecast News) - London stocks were steady in early trade on Tuesday following solid gains in the previous session. At 0905 GMT, the FTSE 100 was up just 0.1% at 6,722.47. Sterling was playing its part in holding back the index, trading up 0.5% against the dollar at 1.3892. A stronger pound tends to dent the top-flight index as around 70% of its constituents derive most of their earnings from overseas.

Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said: "It's no surprise that the markets have paused this Tuesday, catching their breath after sprinting to the close on Monday.

"Looking to inject the markets with a bit of energy later on, the Dow Jones is set to counter Europe's sluggish start with a 180 point rise when the bell rings on Wall Street. Still celebrating Joe Biden's stimulus package, that'd leave the Dow within touching distance of 32,000, and back in the running for an record peak of its own."

In equity markets, M&G was the top performer as the investment manager's full-year operating profit came in ahead of consensus expectations.

Avast gained after saying it had agreed to sell its Family Safety Mobile Business to Smith Micro for $66m.

Domino's Pizza rallied after it unveiled a £45m share buyback and a rise in annual profit as it announced plans to open another 200 stores. The pizza chain also said it was selling its Swedish unit for €2m (£1.8m) in cash as it looks to focus solely on its UK and Ireland operations.

Ultra Electronics pushed higher after the defence contractor reported a jump in full-year profit and revenue as it won a number of new contracts.

On the downside, miners slumped, with BHP, Rio, Glencore, Anglo American and Antofagasta all weaker as metals prices fell.

Education publisher Pearson was knocked lower by a downgrade to 'hold' at Societe Generale, while exploration and development firm Cairn Energy lost ground after saying it swung to a full-year operating loss in 2020.

Asset manager Standard Life Aberdeen was trading a little lower as it declared a dividend but reported lower annual profits and revenues.

ITV was also in the red as it posted a decline in full-year profit and revenue as it took a hit from the Covid-19 pandemic, although the broadcaster's adjusted group earnings before interest, tax and amortisation came in ahead of analysts' expectations.





Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,722.47 0.05% FTSE 250 (MCX) 21,226.27 0.08% techMARK (TASX) 4,070.22 0.44%

FTSE 100 - Risers

M&G (MNG) 216.00p 5.31% International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 215.30p 2.52% Kingfisher (KGF) 281.20p 2.52% Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 230.80p 2.03% SSE (SSE) 1,334.50p 1.99% Barratt Developments (BDEV) 755.00p 1.89% Land Securities Group (LAND) 698.90p 1.79% Bunzl (BNZL) 2,187.00p 1.72% Pennon Group (PNN) 956.40p 1.59% Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 1,569.00p 1.49%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Pearson (PSON) 776.80p -3.96% BHP Group (BHP) 2,188.50p -2.95% Glencore (GLEN) 284.80p -2.52% Rio Tinto (RIO) 5,893.00p -2.43% Anglo American (AAL) 2,948.00p -2.34% London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) 7,446.00p -2.10% Evraz (EVR) 587.40p -2.07% Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,736.50p -1.50% Barclays (BARC) 175.54p -1.34% Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 2,176.00p -1.32%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Domino's Pizza Group (DOM) 337.00p 8.57% Meggitt (MGGT) 463.40p 5.03% Ultra Electronics Holdings (ULE) 2,088.00p 4.92% Wood Group (John) (WG.) 341.50p 4.40% Virgin Money UK (VMUK) 200.20p 3.89% Energean (ENOG) 917.00p 3.63% Avon Rubber (AVON) 2,870.00p 3.24% Pets at Home Group (PETS) 389.20p 2.91% Cineworld Group (CINE) 108.65p 2.36% Frasers Group (FRAS) 476.40p 2.28%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

IWG (IWG) 359.80p -5.66% Cairn Energy (CNE) 187.60p -5.59% TP Icap Group (TCAP) 250.45p -4.59% Ferrexpo (FXPO) 337.60p -3.93% Edinburgh Worldwide Inv Trust (EWI) 299.00p -3.24% Baillie Gifford US Growth Trust (USA) 276.00p -3.16% Allianz Technology Trust (ATT) 2,435.00p -2.99% XP Power Ltd. (DI) (XPP) 5,060.00p -2.32% FDM Group (Holdings) (FDM) 1,038.00p -2.08% Helios Towers (HTWS) 161.60p -2.06%
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