LONDON MARKET OPEN: Stocks Higher; Helios Towers Makes Steady Debut

(Alliance News) - Stock prices in London opened higher on Tuesday as investors mulled the latest ...

Alliance News 15 October, 2019 | 8:55AM
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(Alliance News) - Stock prices in London opened higher on Tuesday as investors mulled the latest trade war and Brexit developments.

In company news, Neil Woodford's flagship investment fund is to be wound up and African telephone masts firm Helios Towers made a firm debut on the London Stock Exchange.

The FTSE 100 index was up 21.95 points, or 0.3% at 7,235.40. The FTSE 250 was up 156.73 points, or 0.8%, at 20,086.63. The AIM All-Share was up 0.1% at 871.01.

The Cboe UK 100 index was up 0.4% at 12,269.02. The Cboe UK 250 was up 0.8% at 17,987.62. The Cboe UK Small Companies was flat at 10,978.18.

In European equities, the CAC 40 index in Paris was up 0.9%, and the DAX 30 in Frankfurt was up 0.8%.

In the FTSE 100, Whitbread was up 2.9% after UBS raised the Premier Inn hotel chain owner to Buy from Neutral.

At the other end of the large cap index, mining stocks were lower as enthusiasm over the partial US-China trade deal announced in Washington on Friday ebbed.

Rio Tinto, BHP, and Anglo American were down 1.2%, 0.7%, and 0.4%, respectively.

In the FTSE 250, Hays was the best performer, up 7.8% after the recruiter said it delivered a solid quarter of stable net fees, despite tougher global macroeconomic conditions and reduced business confidence.

For the first quarter ended September 30, group net fees increased by 1% on a headline basis and were flat on a like-for-like basis against the prior year. Hays said the modest weakening of the pound, mainly against the euro, increased its reported net fee growth.

At the other end of the midcaps, Renishaw was the worst performer, down 8.5% after the precision instruments maker reported disappointing first-quarter earnings.

For the quarter ended September 30, revenue was down 19% to GBP124.6 million from GBP154.0 million from the first quarter last year and pretax profit was down 84% to GBP5.1 million from GBP33.5 million the year before.

Elsewhere, Woodford Patient Capital Trust was down 7.2% after the trust said the corporate director of the LF Woodford Equity Income Fund has decided to wind the fund up.

Link Fund Solutions has decided not to re-open the fund, and will be winding it up "as soon as practicable".

Woodford Investment Management will cease, with immediate effect, to be the investment manager of LF Woodford Equity Income Fund.

Woodford Investment Management also manages closed-end investment trust Woodford Patient Capital, which repeated Tuesday that it is reviewing its own management arrangements and will make an announcement "in due course".

At the beginning of June, stockpicker Neil Woodford took the decision to suspend withdrawals from the equity income fund due to "an increased level of redemptions", with the fund needing time to "reposition" its portfolio invested in unquoted and less liquid stocks into more liquid investments. Since then, the investor has made numerous disposals of stakes in London-listed firms.

Helios Towers made its debut on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange, trading at 115.50 pence, marginally higher against its initial public offering price of 115p.

The IPO price gave Helios an equity value of GBP1.15 billion upon admission. This ranks the IPO as one of the biggest of the year in London, just behind Airtel Africa, Network International Holdings, Trainline, and Finablr.

The pound was quoted at USD1.2658 Tuesday morning, up from USD1.2584 at the London equities close Monday.

The UK government has rejected claims that a Brexit deal cannot be negotiated in time for a crucial EU summit after the Finnish prime minister said "more time" is needed.

Boris Johnson is in a race against the clock to secure a fresh agreement for the meeting of European leaders starting in Brussels on Thursday.

After meeting the European Council's president-elect, Charles Michel, Finland's Antti Rinne said there was "no time" for the UK prime minister to achieve an agreement.

But Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick rejected the remarks, stressing a "great deal" of progress had been made and negotiators are working "very intensively".

Rinne's comments came as negotiators stepped up efforts to work out a way to break the deadlock over the Irish backstop, the contingency measure to prevent a hard border on the island.

The Japanese Nikkei 225 index closed up 1.9%. Financial markets in Japan reopened on Tuesday after being closed on Monday for the Health & Sports Day public Holiday. In China, the Shanghai Composite closed down 0.6%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong is down 0.3%.

China's consumer inflation accelerated at its fastest pace in almost six years in September as African swine fever sent pork prices soaring nearly 70%, official data showed.

Authorities have gone as far as tapping the nation's pork reserve to control prices of the staple meat, as the swine fever crisis could become a political and economic liability for the state.

The consumer price index, a key gauge of retail inflation, hit 3.0% last month, the National Bureau of Statistics said, up from 2.8% in August and the highest since November 2013. The producer price index, an important barometer of the industrial sector that measures the cost of goods at the factory gate, contracted 1.2% in September from the previous year, the NBS said.

The economic events calendar Tuesday has UK unemployment data at 0930 BST.

By Arvind Bhunjun;

Copyright 2019 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security Name Price Change (%) Morningstar
Helios Towers PLC 147.40 GBX -0.94 -
Woodford Patient Capital Trust 24.40 GBX 0.00
Renishaw PLC 4,178.00 GBX -1.00 -
Whitbread PLC 2,262.00 GBX -1.87 -
Hays PLC 119.90 GBX -2.76 -
Anglo American PLC 1,874.00 GBX 1.75
Rio Tinto PLC 4,612.00 GBX 0.92
BHP Group PLC 1,682.20 GBX 1.99

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