UK stocks opened higher on Tuesday as the pound weakened in the wake of Boris Johnson's expected appointment as Prime Minister, helping exporters. At 0847, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 34.32 points, or 0.5%, at 7.549.25. Consumer goods group PZ Cussons fell 0.9% after it booked a 38% drop in annual profit, as sales were hit by weak economic conditions in Nigeria and adverse foreign exchange movements. The company said it was reviewing the growth potential of some of its 'non-core' brands and would ultimately focus more on its personal care and beauty categories. It would also streamline its activities in Nigeria. Online trading house IG shed 0.5% on announcing a 31% fall in annual profit, pinned on stricter regulations and weaker market conditions. Specialist insurer Beazley rose 2.7% after it posted a large rise in first-half profit, having successfully pushed through rises in premium rates while generating higher returns from its investments. Premium mixer retailer Fevertree Drinks shed 8.3%, despite posting a 7% rise in first-half profit and hiking its dividend 23%, as it also revealed that its sales had been hurt by an unseasonably poor British summer. Student accommodation developer Unite climbed 0.9%, even while booking a 12% fall in first-half profit owing to lower property valuation gains, as it boosted underlying earnings and upped its dividend 8%. Specialist lender Paragon Banking added 1.2% as it steadily continued to grow the size of its mortgage and commercial lending books, while improving its net interest margin. Auto retailer Motorpoint reversed 3.3% on guiding for a fall in first-half profit, though the company said that it had seen some margin improvement in July. Convenience store retailer McColl's reversed 4.1%, as it it booked a fall in first-half profit, owing to lower margins in a 'highly competitive' market. London and Johannesburg listed Packaging group Mondi gained 2.9% after it announced that it expected to post a substantial rise in first-half earnings. IT focused recruitment company FDM lost 2.2%, despite posting a 9% rise in first-half profit, after it also reported weaker client demand in the UK and US during the second quarter. Surveillance technology company Synectics shed 2.2% as it posted a 20% fall in first-half profit, owing to order deferrals hurting sales.
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