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10 Oct 2018 | 09:03

UK stocks open 0.2% lower as pound strengthens

UK stocks opened lower on Tuesday as progress on Brexit negotiations strengthened the pound, hurting exporters.

At 0857, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 10.73 points, or 0.2%, at 7.226.86.

A weaker pound can weigh on the UK stock market because some 70% of its companies' income is sourced from abroad.

Recruitment firm PageGroup added 2.5% on news it expected to post annual profit 'marginally' head of market expectations, after a strong offshore showing offset weaker growth in the UK.

Pub group and brewer Marston's shed 2.8% after it predicted a modest rise in full year profit, as 15% growth in revenue was offset by higher interest charges.

In a shock development, cafe chain Patisserie Holdings said it had suspended chief financial officer Chris Marsh and commenced an investigation into potentially fraudulent accounting irregularities. Its shares were suspended from trading.

Energy utility SSE, meanwhile, welcomed a finding by the UK's anti-trust regulator that a planned merger of it and Innogy's npower retail businesses didn't raise concerns. SSE shares were broadly unchanged.

Vertu Motors slid 4.5% after it kept its dividend flat amid falling profits in a tough market for car dealers.

Luxury furniture retailer Walker Greenbank dropped 2.0% as it posted an 8.8% fall in first-half profit, after sales slipped in a 'difficult marketplace'.

Genel Energy rose 2.1% on a prediction that production would be slightly ahead of guidance, as output from its Peshkabir field in Iraq exceeded expectations

Industrial technology supplier Sanderson climbed 4.8% after it said it expected to post full year results 'slightly' ahead of market expectations.

Women's online fashion retailer Sosandar gained 6.5% and it said it expected to book a large rise in sales in the first half, while margins would also improve.

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