London open: Stocks nudge higher ahead of UK jobs data
London stocks nudged higher in early trade on Tuesday, taking their cue from a positive session in Asia as investors eyed the release of key UK jobs data.
After half an hour of trading, the FTSE 100 was up 0.1% at 7,441.2, while the pound was down 0.2% against the dollar and the euro at 1.3081 and 1.1572, respectively, ahead of the release of ILO unemployment rate, claimant count and average earnings at 0930 BST.
The unemployment rate is expected to remain at a multi-year low of 3.9%, while wage growth is also predicted to be unchanged from January's 3.4%, having doubled in less than two years from lows of 1.7% in the summer of 2017.
Eyeing Brexit developments, analyst Michael Hewson at CMC Markets said: "How long this scenario can continue given events at Westminster is anyone’s guess, but the clock is ticking ever louder."
The German ZEW and US industrial and manufacturing figures are also due to be released.
In equity markets, Rio Tinto was a touch firmer even as the impact of March's tropical cyclone in Western Australia forced the miner to cut its guidance for annual ore shipments.
JD Sport Fashion shares rose as the retailer posted a 49% increase in revenue to £4.7bn for the 52 weeks ended 2 February, with a 15.5% increase in profit before tax and exceptionals to £355.2m.
Ashmore gained as the asset manager reported an 11.2% rise in assets under managements for the third quarter as emerging markets found favour with investors.
Security services firm G4S, which recently became a takeover target for Canadian rival GardaWorld, edged higher as it posted a 4.8% jump in first-quarter revenue and hailed a positive start to 2019.
Card Factory ticked up as it reported a drop in full-year underlying profit and like-for-like sales but a rise in revenue amid a "tough" consumer environment, with footfall down across the high street.
Premier Oil gushed higher after announcing a further well test success at its Zama discovery off the coast of Mexico.
On the downside, recruitment company Hays was in the red even as it reported "good" net fee growth of 6% in its third quarter, with underlying growth of 5% adjusted for the timing of Easter.
Galliford Try shares crumbled as the construction group warned that full-year post-exceptional pre-tax profit would be around £30m to £40m below the current consensus forecast.
In broker note action, BP was a little weaker after a downgrade to 'outperform' at RBC Capital Markets. InterContinental Hotels was boosted by an initiation at 'outperform' by MainFirst, while LondonMetric was initiated at 'sector perform' by RBC.
Anglo American was cut to 'hold' at HSBC.
FTSE 100 - Risers
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 4,893.00p 1.12%
Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 527.47p 0.85%
Prudential (PRU) 1,716.00p 0.82%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 2,103.00p 0.81%
NMC Health (NMC) 2,512.00p 0.80%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 2,165.00p 0.79%
BT Group (BT.A) 229.14p 0.79%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 1,417.50p 0.75%
Just Eat (JE.) 738.00p 0.68%
Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 2,314.00p 0.65%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 231.70p -1.03%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 788.00p -0.86%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 538.80p -0.85%
Pearson (PSON) 829.60p -0.74%
BP (BP.) 566.40p -0.61%
Imperial Brands (IMB) 2,500.00p -0.60%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,169.50p -0.59%
Informa (INF) 777.40p -0.59%
Centrica (CNA) 108.50p -0.50%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 188.75p -0.47%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Acacia Mining (ACA) 175.10p 4.47%
Amigo Holdings (AMGO) 257.00p 3.42%
Indivior (INDV) 43.39p 3.39%
Premier Oil (PMO) 104.15p 2.61%
Ashmore Group (ASHM) 465.86p 2.30%
Games Workshop Group (GAW) 3,800.00p 2.21%
Rathbone Brothers (RAT) 2,450.00p 2.08%
OneSavings Bank (OSB) 455.00p 1.93%
Vivo Energy (VVO) 133.80p 1.83%
Spirent Communications (SPT) 146.60p 1.81%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Galliford Try (GFRD) 600.00p -17.30%
Hays (HAS) 153.60p -5.82%
Plus500 Ltd (DI) (PLUS) 499.80p -2.19%
Rank Group (RNK) 158.88p -1.32%
Funding Circle Holdings (FCH) 312.00p -1.27%
AJ Bell (AJB) 344.00p -1.15%
Hammerson (HMSO) 330.60p -0.93%
Quilter (QLT) 153.64p -0.88%
Provident Financial (PFG) 511.60p -0.85%
Royal Mail (RMG) 262.10p -0.83%