London open: Stocks edge up as attention shifts to US data
London stocks edged higher in early trade on Thursday as investors shifted their attention to upcoming US data releases.
At 0830 BST, the FTSE 100 was up 0.3% at 7,588.02.
CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: "The next few days are likely to be a key test of this stabilisation with some key US inflation data tomorrow and next week’s US jobs data for March.
"Before that we have the final iteration of US Q4 GDP which is expected to see a modest revision upwards to 2.8% from 2.7%, which would be a modest slowdown from the 3.2% seen in Q3. Core PCE for Q4 is expected to remain steady at 4.3%."
The US GDP figures are due at 1330 BST.
On home shores, investors were digesting data showing that car production jumped last month as supply chain shortages eased and demand for electric vehicles strengthened.
According to the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders, UK car production rose 13.1% year-on-year to 69,707 units. The trade body said volumes had been "buoyed" by improvement in supply chains, particularly around semiconductors.
Strong demand for electric cars also helped, with the number of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles produced in total rising to 27,392 from 15,905 a year previously.
A total of 56,634 cars were made for export, or for 81.2% of output, up from 50,786 a year previously. Most headed to the European Union, with strong demand from the bloc helping to offset falls in exports to the US and China, down 19.1% and 21.6% respectively.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: "February’s growth in UK car production signposts an industry that is on the road to recovery. The fundamentals of the sector are strong.
"The take advantage of global opportunities, however, we must scale up at pace and make the UK the most attractive destination for automotive investment by addressing trading and fiscal costs and delivering low carbon, affordable energy."
In equity markets, energy firm SSE rallied after it lifted its full-year earnings per share guidance as it hailed a strong performance from its flexible generation plant. It now expects adjusted EPS of more than 160p per share for the full-year 2022/23, up from previous guidance of more than 150p.
Elsewhere, Tritax Big Box was boosted by an upgrade to ‘buy’ from ‘hold’ at Berenberg.
Outside the FTSE 350, Petrofac rocketed after saying that it and Hitachi Energy had been awarded a €13bn framework agreement by Dutch-German electricity grid operator TenneT. The agreement is the largest in Petrofac's history.
Moonpig was also a high riser after the online greeting cards and gift retailer backed its full-year guidance, citing a record Mother’s Day performance.
On the downside, Drax tumbled after the UK government’s carbon capture program rejected its project to introduce the technology at a power plant in England.
North Sea oil and gas producer Ithaca Energy was weaker after it lowered annual production and capital expenditure guidance, citing the UK government’s windfall tax operational delays and lower volumes despite almost trebling profits in 2022.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,588.02 0.31%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 18,753.85 0.65%
techMARK (TASX) 4,530.99 0.01%
FTSE 100 - Risers
Ocado Group (OCDO) 493.30p 3.20%
Unite Group (UTG) 929.50p 2.82%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 610.60p 2.35%
British Land Company (BLND) 382.60p 2.27%
Frasers Group (FRAS) 777.00p 2.17%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 146.14p 2.14%
SEGRO (SGRO) 747.60p 1.99%
Barclays (BARC) 144.72p 1.90%
SSE (SSE) 1,770.50p 1.90%
CRH (CDI) (CRH) 4,054.50p 1.87%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Phoenix Group Holdings (PHNX) 546.40p -3.60%
Aviva (AV.) 405.20p -3.55%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 118.00p -2.76%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,271.00p -2.57%
Abrdn (ABDN) 204.60p -1.96%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,105.00p -1.38%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 2,856.50p -0.64%
Unilever (ULVR) 4,183.50p -0.56%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RKT) 6,126.00p -0.49%
Relx plc (REL) 2,580.00p -0.46%
FTSE 250 - Risers
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 691.00p 26.36%
Molten Ventures (GROW) 274.60p 4.49%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 234.30p 3.81%
Tritax Big Box Reit (BBOX) 138.10p 3.45%
Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 226.20p 3.10%
Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 2,816.00p 3.00%
Carnival (CCL) 721.40p 2.97%
IWG (IWG) 156.90p 2.82%
Genuit Group (GEN) 281.50p 2.74%
ASOS (ASC) 763.50p 2.62%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Drax Group (DRX) 505.00p -12.10%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 27.92p -4.71%
Ithaca Energy (ITH) 147.75p -4.43%
Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 249.60p -2.42%
TP Icap Group (TCAP) 176.90p -1.61%
QinetiQ Group (QQ.) 320.00p -1.48%
Harbour Energy (HBR) 268.00p -1.47%
Premier Foods (PFD) 122.00p -0.97%
HGCapital Trust (HGT) 324.50p -0.92%
Worldwide Healthcare Trust (WWH) 3,055.00p -0.81%