ADVFN Morning London Market Report: Monday 29 April 2019

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London open: Stocks nudge higher after record US close

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London stocks were a touch higher in early trade on Monday after a record close on Wall Street at the end of last week, as investors continued to keep an eye on Brexit developments and Sino-US trade relations.

At 0830 BST, the FTSE 100 was just 0.1% higher at 7,432.02, while the pound was up 0.2% against the dollar at 1.2940 and 0.1% firmer versus the euro at 1.1594.

Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com, said European indices were giving a “cautious” response to the strong performance in the US on Friday.

“There’s not quite the same impetus in Europe compared to the US to drive equities. Asian stocks were higher overnight after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite closed at fresh record highs on Friday. SPX finished up 0.5% at 2,939.88, taking out its previous all-time closing high posted earlier in the week.

“Earnings continue to beat – despite a couple of disappointments last week (notably 3M and Intel) – it does look like we are going to see EPS growth go positive, having been seen negative for the quarter previously. We’ve got plenty coming this week to drive the market to fresh highs – AppleAlphabetGEMcDonald’sPfizerMerck and others.”

On home turf, Brexit talks between the government and the Labour Party were due to resume on Monday.

Meanwhile, relations between the US and China were set to be in focus after US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said discussions between the two were entering a critical point as an American delegation heads to Beijing this week to finalise a deal.

In equity markets, shares in advertising giant WPP rose following an upgrade to ‘overweight’ from ‘equalweight’ at Barclays, which pointed to the stock’s valuation, the Kantar disposal and “some confidence” in management’s strategy to turn the business around. In addition, Deutsche Bank hiked its price target on buy-rated WPP to 1,070p from 60p.

Steelmaker and miner Evraz ticked up as it said first-quarter consolidated crude steel output climbed by 12.4% quarter on quarter to 3.5m tonnes, mainly as a result of higher pig iron production following the completion of capital repairs at a blast furnace at the end of 2018.

Ferrexpo was a high riser following heavy losses at the end of last week, as it rejected Deloitte’s assertion that it delayed a review into donations to the Blooming Land charity in Ukraine in the latest exchange between the company and its former auditor over the affair.

Elsewhere, AstraZeneca edged higher as it said the EU’s medicines regulator has recommended that the use of its ovarian cancer drug Lynparza be expanded.

Ocado was on the back foot as it emerged that the fire that destroyed its warehouse this year was sparked by an electrical fault which caused a robot to catch alight.

Doorstep lender Provident Financial was also weaker as Non-Standard Finance extended the deadline for its £1.3bn hostile takeover offer to 15 May and urged the company’s shareholders to accept it.

Tesco nudged lower as it said IFRS16, the new financial accounting reporting standard on accounting for leases, for its 2019/20 financial year, increased group operating profit and margin, but reduced pre-tax profit and diluted earnings per share.

Auto Trader was a touch lower as it appointed chief operating officer Nathan Coe as chief executive-designate after current boss Trevor Mather announced his intention to retire in 2020.

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