London’s blue chip index is flat in early trading on Friday, despite strong gains made in the US and Asian markets overnight on rising oil prices. Investors appear to be bracing themselves for the latest construction data, which could make difficult reading after manufacturing figures were worse than expected for July. Disappointing Chinese industrial output and retail sales for July could also be on weighing on sentiment.
The FTSE edged 0.62 points higher to 6,915.33 when the markets opened.
Oil majors BP (BP.) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA) advance by more than 1% to 437.6p and £19.45, respectively, on the rising cost of the black stuff. Miner BHP Billiton (BLT) also benefited, climbing 1.1% to £10.65.
In the FTSE 250, Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito owner Restaurant Group (RTN) shoots 9.3% higher to 411.9p on appointing a new boss to help turn the struggling business around. Ex-Paddy Power boss Andy McCue replaces Danny Breithaupt, who has stepped down as chief executive after two years.
Elsewhere, Cineworld (CINE) rises 1.9% to 596p on adding five cinemas to its network after completing the £94 million acquisition of Empire Cinema. The deal includes the nine screen Empire Leicester Square multiplex.
Animal breeding specialist Genus (GNS) loses almost 10% of its value to trade at £17.49 after a court in the US ruled that the company had infringed the patent involving cattle semen processing technology. Genus is expected to pay damages.
Ventilation products supplier to house-builders Volution (FAN) advances 3.5% to 176p on sales in the year to 31 July improving by 19%, largely the result of acquisitions made during the period. Full-year figures will be in line with expectations when posted on 11 October.
Pre-tax losses falling to €3.7 million from €96.4 million in the six months to 30 June sends property and casualty insurer FBD (FBH) 9.1% higher to 6.6p. The reduction in losses was the result of the business setting more of its reserves aside to cover potentially losses. Premiums fell by €4 million to €180 million year-on-year. Management expects the company to be profitable in 2017.