FTSE opens 0.2% higher, buoyed by positive Vodafone, ITV updates


UK stocks opened higher on Tuesday, buoyed by positive earnings and sales updates from the likes of telecom giant Vodafone, television broadcaster ITV and Mr Kiplings cakes make Premier Foods.

At 0847, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 14.05 points, or 0.2%, at 7.342.59.

Vodafone rose 1.3% to 162.28p, even as it booked a first-half loss owing to an adverse court ruling in India.

The company also upgraded its earnings guidance for the full year as sales inched higher, supported by gains in South Africa, Spain and Italy.

Television broadcast ITV gained 2.7% to 139.66p after its third-quarter advertising revenue came in at the top end of its guidance range, supported by popular new shows.

Premier Foods rallied 9.2% to 36.4p as it swung to a first-half profit amid higher sales of Mr Kipling cakes and Nissin pot noodles.

The company did not pay a dividend as it continued to focus on debt reduction, though recently-appointed chief executive Alex Whitehouse said it may start to see options for 'cash deployment; in future.

Elsewhere, science tools marker Oxford Instruments advanced 6.6% to £14.64 on the back of a 55% rise in first-half profit, driven by higher sales and an increase in the value of currency derivatives.

Pharmaceuticals group AstraZeneca pushed 0.1% higher to £72.5828, having announced that its lupus drug had shown superior results compared with a placebo in a clinical trial.

Industrial and electrical products distributor Electrocomponents dropping 11% to 627.8p after it reported a fall in half-yearly profit, as revenue growth was offset by asset write-downs following the collapse of British Steel.

Defence, aerospace and energy market component supplier Meggitt fell 0.3% to 627.6p, despite upgrading its annual revenue guidance. The company also warned that its operating margin would be at the lower end of its previous guidance range.

Marketing services group DCC shed 3.7% to £71.02 on announcing that its health and beauty solutions unit had acquired Ion Laboratories in a deal worth $60m, boosting its offering in the US.

Online real estate portal OnTheMarket rose 3.3% to 71.24p on news that it had signed a listing agreement with house builder Persimmon.

Flexible power supplier Aggreko added 1.0% to 804.8p after announcing that it was on track to hit its capital return targets in 2020, despite revenue slipping in the nine months through September.