UK stocks inched higher at the open on Wednesday after a positive earnings update from SSE helped buoy the utilities sector.
At 0855, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 2.44 points at 7,590.42.
Beleaguered support services firm Capita crashed 38.1% to 215.8p as new chief executive Jonathan Lewis unveils a pretty drastic transformation plan. A £700m rights issue is planned and the company is also suspending any dividend payments until it starts generating ‘sustainable’ free cash flow.
SSE gained 1.4% after announcing that it now expected to deliver adjusted earnings per share for the current financial year of between 116p and 120p, up from previous guidance of around 116p. Water supplier United Utilities gained 1.1%.
Lifestyle fashion retailer Joules Group showed there was still life left on the British High Street by posting a large rise in first-half profit and upgrading its annual guidance. Its shares, already trading at a high valuation, tacked on an extra 0.5%.
Ultra Electronics shed 2.9% after the defence technology group said it had agreed to extend the time period for which it could complete its acquisition of Sparton, as the pair continue to await a ruling from the United States Department of Justice.
Wizz Air Holdings, meanwhile, fell 2.3% as higher fuel costs put pressure on its margins, restricting third-quarter profit growth at the Hungarian budget carrier to 3.6%.
Egypt-focused miner Centamin reported gold production for 2017 above guidance but pre-tax profits fell amid rising costs and falling sales compared to the previous year. Its shares were flat.
Softdrink maker Britvic's first-quarter trading update was a bit of a fizzer, with organic revenue growth ticking up by just 0.7%. Its shares fell 2.4%.
Dairy Crest gained 2.6% after dairy products company boosted revenue in first nine months of the year by 7%.