FTSE 100 opens higher following the lead from European markets

The FTSE 100 opened 0.4% higher at 7,748.77, in line with a stronger opening in European markets which were buoyed by better earnings earlier in the week.

The FTSE 100 opened 0.4% higher at 7,748.77, in line with a stronger opening in European markets which were buoyed by better earnings earlier in the week.

In contrast, the Asian markets were mixed, with the Nikkei barely closing up 0.06% and the Hang Seng falling 0.56% to 3,585.25 after North Korea made conciliatory comments about meeting with President Donald Trump, despite Trump cancelling a historic summit scheduled for June 12.

Economic data later out today, including the second reading for the UK GDP and BBA mortgage Lending Figures, both due at 9.30am, will keep currency traders on their toes. Both the pound and the euro were weaker against the dollar, down 0.25% at 1.3345 and down 0.30% at 1.1687, respectively, the latter pulled down by political turmoil in Italy where a new government is due to take its post next week.

Power and gas utility SSE shares fell 1.3% to 1,418 as the company’s profits declined almost 40% in fiscal 2018 despite strong revenue. Nevertheless, the company increased its dividend and proposed to hike them further later this year. SSE’s pre-tax profit declined 39% to £1.09 billion on a 7.6% increase in revenue to £31.23 billion. The drag on profit is from the company’s £300 million investment in West Shetlands gas production assets which initially promised to have higher reserves than have subsequently been found.

SSE declared a full-year dividend of 94.7 pence per share, up 3.7% from 91.3p a year ago.  

Sports-betting and gaming group GVC Holdings reported a 7% increase in net gaming revenue over a 20-week period but retail like-for-like net gaming revenue fell 5% compared with the same period the previous year, primarily because of bad weather earlier in the year. But the company’s overall performance was boosted by demand in Europe where retail net gaming revenue increased 32%. GVC said its acquisition of Ladbrokes Coral is now complete and estimates that the resulting cost synergies will be close to £130 million pounds.  

GVC shares traded up 3.66% at 1,020.

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