The FTSE 100 opens up 17 points at 7,431.95 despite UK inflation remaining stubbornly at 3%.
In corporate news, mobile phone network provider Vodafone (VOD) gains 5.1% to 227.05p on revealing its half year to 30 September results. The company’s total revenue is down 4.1% to €23.1bn but says this is due to the deconsolidation of its Netherlands operations and currency movements. Its operating profit is up 32.5% to €2bn compared to the same period last year.
UK television network ITV (ITV) gains 2.3% to 157.60p as it reveals its performance for the nine months ending 30 September are in line with expectations. The company’s total external revenue is down 1% to £2.13bn on a year-on-year basis due to a decline in net advertising revenue (NAR). However, this was largely offset by growth in non-NAR, which increased by 8%.
Bus operator FirstGroup (FGP) grinds down 2% to 107.75 as its half year results to 30 September show flat adjusted operating profit at £89.4m. Part of this was down to the hurricanes in North America which cost the company around £6m mainly due to the impact on its contracts in Puerto Rico.
Computer infrastructure company Computacenter (CCC) ticks up 7.8% to £10.65 after saying that its 2017 results will be ‘comfortably in excess of its previous expectations’. The company says it will return £100m to shareholders in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Supermarket chain Tesco (TSCO) gains 5.1% to 186.05p as its announces that the Competition and Markets Authority has given provisional unconditional clearance for its merger with Booker (BOK). Booker is also up 5.4% to 209.30p on release of the news.
FTSE 250 retirement home builder McCarthy & Stone (MCS) is up 7.7% to 158.50p on the release of its full year to 31 August results. The company’s revenue is up 4% to £660.9m on a year-on-year basis although its pre-tax profits have slipped 1% to £92.1m. It has upped its dividend per share by 20% to 5.4p.
Tool rental company Speedy Hire (SDY) is marked up 4.2% to 56.50p after increasing its adjusted profit before tax by 58.8% to £10.8m for its first half to 30 September. The company has also increased its dividend by 51.% to 0.5p both on a year-on-year basis.
Piping system company Polypipe (PLP) ticks up 3.5% to 390.30p after saying it is on track to meet management expectations for the full year in a trading statement. The company’s revenue for the 10 months ending 31 October is 8.2% up on the prior year at £400.6m.