London open: Stocks edge up as traders shrug off coronavirus concerns
London stocks edged higher in early trade on Wednesday, taking their cue from an upbeat session in Asia as investors shrugged off concerns about the spread of coronavirus.
At 0830 GMT, the FTSE 100 was up 0.2% at 7,625.30, while the pound was flat against the dollar at 1.3045.
Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said: "Despite the first case of the coronavirus being identified in the United States, the losses that were pinned on the illness on Tuesday failed to materialise this Wednesday.
"Part of the reason for these gains could be the positive noise made by Donald Trump and European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen, with reports of ‘a friendly exchange of views between allies’. That’s good given the trade tensions that have recently defined the relationship between EU and US, tensions that both appear to want to resolve."
On home shores, all eyes will be on the release of public sector net borrowing figures for December at 0930 GMT and the CBI industrial trends survey for January at 1100 GMT, after sterling was boosted by solid jobs numbers on Tuesday.
On the corporate front, housebuilder Berkeley Group was the standout gainer after saying it will return £1bn to shareholders over the next two years, which is a £455m increase.
Software company Sage followed close behind after it said first-quarter recurring revenue increased 10.7% year -on-year to £410m, underpinned by software subscription growth of 24.8% to £286m as it continued to focus on migrating existing customers and attracting new customers to subscription and the cloud.
Credit-checking firm Experian was boosted by an upgrade to ‘overweight’ at Morgan Stanley.
On the downside, luxury fashion brand Burberry was the worst performer on the FTSE 100 despite lifting its revenue guidance for the year and posting a rise in third-quarter sales. The stock was likely being hit by worries about the impact of the coronavirus as China is a big market for Burberry.
Antofagasta was also in the red even as the Chilean copper miner hailed record full-year copper production despite a dip in the fourth quarter due partly to unrest in Chile.
Travel company TUI lost ground, with traders pointing to news that Boeing’s 737 MAX is set to remain grounded until at least June or July.
Sainsbury's was on the back foot after the supermarket chain said retail and operations director Simon Roberts will become chief executive from 1 June, succeeding Mike Coupe.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 5,454.00p 5.17%
Sage Group (SGE) 766.80p 4.47%
Experian (EXPN) 2,664.00p 2.03%
NMC Health (NMC) 1,512.50p 1.71%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 7,840.00p 1.71%
Persimmon (PSN) 3,027.00p 1.68%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 820.00p 1.64%
Aveva Group (AVV) 5,110.00p 1.59%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 217.20p 1.35%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 866.00p 1.33%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Burberry Group (BRBY) 2,190.00p -3.23%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 922.20p -2.93%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 863.00p -2.60%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 209.90p -1.18%
Glencore (GLEN) 235.90p -0.88%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 2,799.00p -0.82%
Kingfisher (KGF) 211.80p -0.70%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 660.40p -0.54%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 58.20p -0.51%
BP (BP.) 487.85p -0.51%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Watches of Switzerland Group (WOSG) 389.80p 3.95%
PayPoint (PAY) 1,070.00p 2.49%
Safestore Holdings (SAFE) 785.50p 2.15%
Finablr (FIN) 134.00p 1.98%
Brewin Dolphin Holdings (BRW) 370.00p 1.93%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 443.70p 1.86%
Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 448.80p 1.77%
Bellway (BWY) 4,135.00p 1.55%
Schroder Oriental Income Fund Ltd. (SOI) 263.00p 1.54%
Fidelity China Special Situations (FCSS) 247.00p 1.23%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Vivo Energy (VVO) 111.80p -4.12%
Hunting (HTG) 337.60p -3.21%
Hammerson (HMSO) 245.20p -2.89%
Quilter (QLT) 160.80p -2.84%
Victrex plc (VCT) 2,410.00p -2.27%
Vesuvius (VSVS) 446.60p -2.19%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 367.90p -1.84%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 188.70p -1.67%
WH Smith (SMWH) 2,498.00p -1.65%
Playtech (PTEC) 370.30p -1.65%