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07 Nov 2018 | 09:07

UK stocks open 1.1% stronger as midterms play out as expected

UK stocks opened substantially stronger on Wednesday after the outcome of US midterm elections played out much as expected, with Democrats seizing the House and Republicans holding the Senate.

At 0859, the benchmark FTSE 100 rose 79.54 points, or 1.1%, to 7.120.22.

Marks and Spencer fell 2.1% as investors looked past an unexpected rise in first-half profit and focused on falling sales at both its clothing and food divisions.

Home builder Persimmon gained 1.6% after it announced that chief executive Jeff Fairburn would stand down due to controversy surrounding the size of his pay packet.

Persimmon also provided a third-quarter trading update, that showed private sales had risen 3% while prices remained 'firm'.

Fellow house builder Redrow said its sales rate in the year-to-date had fallen due to Brexit uncertainty hurting the London property market. Its order book, however, grew 11% and its shares ticked 0.8% higher.

Television broadcaster ITV slumped 4.0% on the back of a warning that advertising revenues would be flat for the full-year.

Pub chain JD Wetherspoon dropped 8.2% as it warned its full-year performance would be below that of last year amid rising input costs.

Cyber-security company Sophos tumbled 24% despite swinging to a first-half profit, as its underlying earnings were hurt by lower margins and disappointing sales.

Security company G4S slumped 9.3% as it warned full-year profits would be flat after third-quarter revenue fell.

Dairy Crest gained 1.9% as strong sales of its cheese and spreads brands underpinned a 13% rise in first-half adjusted profit.

Luxury handbag maker Mulberry fell 4.8% as soft retail conditions and collapse of the House of Fraser department store chain sent it to a deeper first-half loss.

Wizz Air descended 2.6% after it cut its annual earnings guidance amid costs associated with industrial action by European air-traffic controllers and a higher fuel bill. Story provided by
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