ADVFN Morning London Market Report: Thursday 24 October 2019

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London open: Stocks edge higher as investors await Brexit extension decision

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London stocks edged higher in early trade on Thursday following positive sessions in the US and Asia, as investors awaited the EU decision on a Brexit extension.

At 0830 BST, the FTSE 100 was 0.4% firmer at 7,286.17, while the pound was up 0.2% against the dollar at 1.2932 and 0.1% weaker versus the euro at 1.1594.

Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com, said: “At present it looks like the EU will only offer the extension once the UK decides what it’s for, while the government doesn’t really want to commit itself either way until it knows the length of any extension.

“It’s also been reported the cabinet is split over whether to go all-in with an election, or seek to get this deal through Parliament.”

Away from Brexit, attention will turn to the European Central Bank’s latest policy announcement, which will be the last under the leadership of President Mario Draghi.

CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: “This meeting may be Draghi’s swansong, and he certainly leaves the euro in a much more stable position than he found it, but the European economy still remains extremely vulnerable.

“It could also be argued that the ECB is already at the limits of its mandate, and in the absence of any sort of fiscal reform, a point he will once again make loud and clear to EU leaders, there is little in the way of a bazooka left if another crisis were to strike.”

In corporate news, AstraZeneca rallied after the pharmaceuticals giant lifted its sales guidance for the second quarter as it posted a rise in third-quarter sales.

Aveva was in the green as the engineering and industrial software company said it achieved low double-digit revenue growth in the first half.

Kaz Minerals racked up healthy gains as it reported a jump in third-quarter copper production and said production for the full year was expected to be at the upper end of its guidance range.

AJ Bell was also trading higher after the investment platform reported an increase in assets under management and customer numbers for the first full year of trading since its IPO.

On the downside, Royal Bank of Scotland was sharply lower as it said it swung to a third-quarter loss after making a £900m provision for payment protection insurance. In the three months to 30 September, the bank made an operating loss before tax of £8m versus a £961m profit in the same period a year ago.

Rolls-RoyceITVFergusonHowden Joinery and Balfour Beatty were all in the red as their stock went ex-dividend.

 

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