London open: Stocks edge up ahead of US inflation; Avast rallies
London stocks edged higher in early trade on Wednesday, underpinned by deal news, as investors eyed the latest US inflation reading.
At 0840 BST, the FTSE 100 was up 0.2% at 7,175.93.
On the macro front, US inflation data for July is due at 1330 BST. Danske Bank said: “Market consensus is expecting monthly inflation pressures to ease both for core and headline inflation.
“However, the inflation print for June surprised to the upside and if the same thing happens today, this would give further momentum for US yields and dollar as it stirs more hawkish expectations to the Fed.”
In equity markets, cybersecurity firm Avast was the standout gainer on the FTSE 100 after it agreed to be bought by US rival NortonLifeLock in a £6.2bn deal and reported a jump in first-half adjusted earnings and revenue.
Admiral Insurance was also on the rise, with shareholders set to cash in as the company paid an increased interim dividend and extra payouts after the sale of its Penguin Portals business. The insurer also posted a 76% increase in half-year pre-tax profit from continuing operations.
Spirax-Sarco Engineering and 4Imprint were also trading up after well-received first-half results.
On the downside, Phoenix Group lost ground despite reporting a rise in first-half operating profit and a more than doubling of its cash generation.
CLS Holdings fell after it said pre-tax profit declined in the first half as it took a hit from the pandemic, while wealth manager Quilter retreated despite hailing “robust” interim results.
FTSE 100 – Risers
Avast (AVST) 589.20p 3.66%
Spirax-Sarco Engineering (SPX) 15,450.00p 2.15%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 957.00p 1.83%
Admiral Group (ADM) 3,511.00p 1.80%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 2,524.00p 1.57%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,392.50p 1.46%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 168.62p 1.05%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,034.00p 1.00%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) 7,922.00p 0.92%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,459.20p 0.91%
FTSE 100 – Fallers
Phoenix Group Holdings (PHNX) 686.60p -1.91%
National Grid (NG.) 939.50p -1.26%
Evraz (EVR) 624.80p -1.23%
Pershing Square Holdings Ltd NPV (PSH) 2,540.00p -1.17%
Flutter Entertainment (CDI) (FLTR) 13,800.00p -1.08%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,524.00p -0.88%
Entain (ENT) 1,956.50p -0.76%
Abrdn (ABDN) 288.70p -0.72%
M&G (MNG) 229.20p -0.69%
Compass Group (CPG) 1,491.00p -0.60%
FTSE 250 – Risers
4Imprint Group (FOUR) 2,975.00p 4.02%
Brewin Dolphin Holdings (BRW) 388.00p 2.78%
Hill & Smith Holdings (HILS) 1,698.00p 2.17%
Spirent Communications (SPT) 289.00p 1.98%
Capita (CPI) 46.67p 1.68%
JPMorgan Emerging Markets Inv Trust (JMG) 133.80p 1.67%
Premier Foods (PFD) 112.60p 1.44%
Rank Group (RNK) 180.80p 1.23%
Trainline (TRN) 371.20p 1.09%
Edinburgh Worldwide Inv Trust (EWI) 332.00p 1.07%
FTSE 250 – Fallers
Quilter (QLT) 164.20p -2.78%
Jupiter Fund Management (JUP) 273.40p -2.36%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 144.10p -2.17%
Hammerson (HMSO) 36.21p -1.66%
Watches of Switzerland Group (WOSG) 1,044.00p -1.32%
Moonpig Group (MOON) 370.60p -1.17%
Vivo Energy (VVO) 105.20p -1.13%
Dr. Martens (DOCS) 407.20p -1.07%
Trustpilot Group (TRST) 375.00p -0.95%
Derwent London (DLN) 3,739.00p -0.87%