ADVFN Morning London Market Report: Friday 9 August 2019

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London open: Stocks edge lower as investors eye key data releases

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London stocks edged lower in early trade on Friday following solid gains in the previous session, as investors eyed a slew of key UK data releases.

At 0830 BST, the FTSE 100 was down 0.3% at 7,265.76, while sterling was flat against the dollar at 1.2132 and 0.2% lower versus the euro at 1.0838.

Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said: “The pound is likely saving its energy for the data workout it is set to undergo this morning. The UK’s Q2 GDP is expecting to have flatlined, a sharp drop-off from Q1’s 0.5% increase; the monthly figure, meanwhile, is forecast to drop from 0.3% to 0.1%.

“On top of this, the currency is facing a big about face from the manufacturing sector, with production for June estimated at -0.1% against May’s 1.4% increase. Though the pound has been politically-focused of late, it’s hard to see this selection of pre-Brexit warning signs allowing sterling a happy end to the week.”

Second-quarter GDP, manufacturing and industrial production figures and the trade balance are all due at 0930 BST.

In equity markets, advertising giant WPP was sitting pretty at the top of the FTSE 100 as its first-half revenue rose 1.6% to £7.6bn, beating expectations of £7.5bn. In addition, the company backed its full-year guidance even as pre-tax profit fell 44% to £478m.

Hikma Pharmaceuticals was the standout gainer on the FTSE 250 as it lifted the full-year sales outlook for its generic drug business and reported a 7% jump in first-half group revenue.

Security services firm G4S pushed higher as it announced plans to separate its cash solutions business and said first-half underlying pre-tax profit increased 7.4% to £175m on revenue of £3.7bn, up 4.7% on the year.

William Hill was also in the green as its interim results were a slight beat versus expectations. The gambling group’s adjusted first-half operating profit fell 33% to £76.2m as it took a hit from the government’s regulatory cap on fixed odds betting terminals and US expansion costs.

 

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