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21 May 2019 | 09:03

UK stocks open 0.5% higher as Brexit fears pressure pound

UK stocks opened higher on Tuesday as growing fears of a no-deal Brexit sparked by Tory leadership rumblings heaped pressure on the pound, helping exporters.

At 0855, the FTSE 100 was up 39.39 points, or 0.5%, at 7.350.27.

Supermarket giant Tesco gained 0.3% on announcing that its banking division had ceased new mortgage lending and that it was was actively seeking to sell the entire loan book.

Construction company Galliford Try rallied 13% on guiding for its full-year results to meet market expectations, supported by ongoing demand for housing and efforts to trim its construction business.

Water utility Severn Trent gained 0.6% after it posted a sure and steady 6.8% rise in annual profit, driven by higher sales in its regulated and waste water business following tariff increases.

Topps Tiles slipped 3.7% as its profits in the first half were dragged down by start up costs at its new commercial business, though underlying profits improved.

Footwear retailer Shoe Zone fell 6.5% after it booked a flat first-half profit owing to a small fall in sales.

Meat retailer Cranswick sizzled 1.2% higher as it booked a modest rise in annual adjusted profit, despite citing pressure on sales from competition and Brexit uncertainty.

Cycling and motor equipment retailer Halfords edged 0.1% higher despite posting a 24% fall in annual profit that was nevertheless in line with guidance.

Booking and convenience retailer WH Smith shed 0.7% on reporting a large rise in year-to date-sales, as it rolled out new outlets at airports. High street sales, however, continued to come under pressure.

Healthcare services provider UDG Healthcare gained 6.7% on announcing that it had acquired two consultancy groups for up to a combined $106.3m.

London West End property investor Shaftesbury fell 0.4% after it booked a 69% fall in first-half profit owing to the impact of property revaluations. Underlying earnings, however, were supported by higher rental income and the company upped its dividend by 4.8%.

Document management business Restore added 2.7% on news that it had poached Neil Ritchie, the chief financial officer of luxury handbag group Mulberry, as its finance head. Mulberry shares fell 3.3%.

Engineering services group Renew gained 3.1% after it posted a rise in first-half profit, amid a sales boost provided by its acquisition last May of QTS.

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