UK stocks opened higher on Friday following strong earnings updates from US tech companies including Apple and Amazon, though investors remained wary of a resurgence of Covid-19 cases around the globe. At 0833, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 32.91 points, or 0.6%, at 6,022.90. British-Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines descended 5.4% to 171.2p on announcing it would raise up to €2.75bn from a share issue, as it swung to a first-half loss. NatWest, the lender formally known as Royal Bank of Scotland, slipped 0.3% to 105.6p as it, too, swung to a first-half loss, having racked up impairment charges of £2.86bn and seeing its margins shrink. British American Tobacco advanced 2.0% to £27.105 after it posted a rise in first-half operating earnings, having eked out a 0.9% rise in sales. Telecom bellwether BT rose 0.7% to 108.55p after it reinstated guidance and forecast a return to earnings growth 'beyond this year'. Miner and commodities trader Glencore added 0.3% to 177.58p even as it cut its output guidance for nickel and coal, citing pandemic-related disruptions. London Stock Exchange gained 0.9% to £84.24, having hiked its dividend after it booked a rise in underlying earnings amid revenue growth at its information services and post-trade divisions. The exchange operator declared an interim dividend of 23.3p per share, up 16% on-year. Pet product retailer and veterinary business Pets at Home rallied 6.8% to 273.8p despite its first-quarter revenue slipping 0.7%. Pets at Home said conditions had improved in the latter part of the trading period after lockdowns were eased. Polling and data group YouGov shed 0.6% to 795p, even as it announced growth in revenue and profits in its financial year through July, in line with its expectations. Specialist lender Paragon Banking added 1.2% to 320.12p on announcing that payment deferrals had been applied to just under 21% of its loan balances owing to the Covid-19 crisis. Paragon Banking said it also saw no need to add further credit provisions for the third quarter. Investment group Scottish American Investment Company gained 1.0% to 421p, having bumped up its dividend by 2.1% after it posted a modestly positive first-half performance.
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