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16 Oct 2019 | 08:50

UK stocks open flat with Brexit talks on knife edge

UK stocks were trading broadly flat in early dealings on Wednesday as crucial Brexit talks remained on a knife edge ahead of the 31 October departure deadline.

At 0843, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 1.64 points at 7.213.28.

Mining house Rio Tinto shed 1.2% to 3,969p as it produced 6% more iron ore in the third quarter, but downgraded its annual production forecasts for bauxite and alumina.

Online fashion retailer Asos jumped 15% to 2,950p , even as it reported a steep fall in profit owing to operational hitches at warehouses in the US and Germany.

The company, which had already foreshadowed the fall in a previous profit warning, also said it had made a strong finish to the year and a 'solid' start to the new financial year.

Travel company National Express reversed 0.5% to 446.2p, despite its Spanish and Moroccan division ALSA winning a bus contract in Casablanca, expected to secure more than €1bn in revenue over a 15-year term.

Residential property developer Barratt Developments fell 2.8% to 664p on a warning that it continued to expect to grow homebuilding volumes toward the lower end of its medium-term target range this year.

Private health care services group Mediclinic International firmed 1.8% to 364.3p as its first-half revenue rose by about 9.0% in the first half, helping to boost earnings.

Property investor and developer Segro edged back 0.1% to 821.8p after it signed new headline rent contracts worth £15.3m in the third quarter, up from £12.6m on-year. Rent roll growth from existing space, however, fell.

Infection prevention product manufacturer Tristel gained 1.9% to 299p as it booked an 18% rise in annual profit driven by sales growth both at home and abroad.

Manufacturing group PipeHawk firmed 5.9% to 4.34p on announcing that it had acquired loss-making company Wessex Precision Instruments for a nominal sum of £1.

Advanced materials group Applied Graphene Materials shed 5.6% to 17p as its annual losses widened amid slower-than-expected revenue growth.

Nanomaterial manufacturer Nanoco was broadly flat a 10.21p as it narrowed its annual losses after its revenue more than doubled, though it warned of tougher trading ahead due to the loss of a key US customer. Story provided by
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