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20 Aug 2019 | 08:59

UK stocks open 0.5% higher; pound under pressure

UK stocks opened higher on Tuesday as fears of a looming no-deal Brexit continued to heap pressure on the pound, helping exporters.

At 0852, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 35.38 points, or 0.5%, at 7.225.03.

Mining giant BHP fell 1.3% to 1,758.6p, despite declaring a record annual dividend, as its profits fell short of market expectations and it warned of an uncertain economic outlook marred by trade tensions.

Services company Wood Group gained 1.6% to 458.1p on news that it had sold its nuclear business to a subsidiary of Jacobs for £250m, while also swinging to a first-half profit.

House builder Persimmon rose 2.1% to 1,900.5p, even as it booked a small fall in first-half profit.

Revenue was hit, as expected, by a decision to sell homes later in their construction process to address quality concerns, while operating margins remained healthy at 31%.

Pharmaceuticals company AstraZeneca firmed 1.6% to 7,395p after it reported positive trial results for a diabetes drug.

Subprime lender Non-Standard Finance gained 0.4% to 33.75p, despite it booking a deeper first-half loss, partly owing to costs associated with its failed takeover bid for rival Provident Financial.

The company also posted a rise in underlying revenue and earnings, while lifting its dividend 17%.

Disease and allergy testing company Omega Diagnostics rallied 5.9% to 9p after it received its first purchase order for an HIV testing kit from its partner company in Zimbabwe.

Avesoro Resources jumped 19% to 90p on revealing that controlling shareholder Avesoro Jersey had offered to buy the remaining shares in the company it didn't already own for £1 each.

Online retailer MySale plunged 44% to 2.65p after it launched a heavily dilutionary £10m equity raising at 2p a share to repay its bank debt.

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