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07 Jan 2019 | 08:42

UK stocks open flat as investors remain on edge

UK stocks had a relatively calm open on Monday, tracking sideways as investors grappled with fears of slowing growth in China, a prolonged US government shutdown and uncertainty over the outcome of Brexit talks.

At 0837, the benchmark FTSE 100 had inched up 1.38 points to 6.838.80.

Homewares retailer Dunelm rallied 12% after stating that its pre-tax profits would be 'modestly' ahead of market expectations, should the pace of growth seen in the first half continue.

The company did, however, express caution over its full-year outlook, citing unprecedented levels of uncertainty currently facing consumers and businesses in the UK.

Power supplier ContourGlobal rallied 6.1% on news it had agreed to acquire two natural gas-fired power plants, and the development rights for a third, in Mexico from Alpek for $724m in cash.

Consumer goods distributor UP Global Sourcing, known as Ultimate Products, jumped 19% after it announced that it expected its earnings in the 2019 financial year to beat current market expectations.

Technology and payments specialist Equiniti gained 1.2% on announcing that it had won a contract from UK communications regulator Ofcom.

OptiBiotix Health climbed 2.6% as it entered into an exclusive manufacturing and supply agreement for its weight-management technology in India.

Wealth management and employee benefits company Mattioli Woods shed 2.3%, despite forecasting 'strong growth' in first-half adjusted profits, as it also warned of lower-than-expected revenue growth.

Recruitment and training company Staffline firmed 5.8% on news that its PeoplePlus division had won contracts worth £104.6m from the latest round of UK prison education tenders.

Ultrasound software company MedaPhor fell 3.2% as it warned of a deeper full-year earnings loss owing to heavier R&D spending.

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