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26 Feb 2019 | 09:02

FTSE opens 0.8% lower as Brexit delay hopes strengthen pound

UK stocks opened lower on Tuesday as rising expectations that a no-deal Brexit will be averted strengthened the pound, hurting exporters.

Global markets had also weakened more broadly as hopes faded that the US and China will be able iron out their differences on trade.

At 0855, the FTSE 100 was down 57.47 points, or 0.8%, at 7.126.27.

Standard Chartered shed 1.1%, despite posting a 5.5% rise in annual profit that was driven by higher margins and lower charges for bad loans.

The bank also said it would target higher payouts to shareholders as part of a refreshed strategy that would involve slashing costs and selling off smaller assets.

House builder Persimmon gained 1.0% on posting a 13% rise in annual profit, as it completing more properties and sold them for a higher average price.

Builders merchant Travis Perkins jumped 9.1%, despite swinging to an annual loss owing to a write-down in the value of its Wickes DIY chain.

With the write-down and other one-off charges stripped out, adjusted profits edged higher amid a 4.8% boost in sales.

Mining company Fresnillo dropped 8.9% on reporting a a sharp decline in annual profits owing to lower prices. The company also warned of another 'challenging year.'

Chemical company Croda International fell 3.3%, despite it offering a special dividend, as profit growth was muted by a stronger pound. Babcock International fell 2.8% after revealing that it would incur a one-off £10m tax charge due to Brexit.

Engineering group Meggitt slipped 4,4% on posting a drop in annual profit, pinned on a fall in the market value of certain investments. Underlying earnings, however, rose as the company beat its organic sales targets.

Marine services company James Fisher and Sons gained 3.1% as its marine support services segment helped buoy profits.

Surveillance technology company Synectics rose 2.8%, despite posting a 16% fall in annual profit owing to weakness in the UK bus market. Demand from the gambling sector was a bright spot and helped soften the blow. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com
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