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UK stocks open 0.1% lower after May's Brexit trouncing

Wednesday, 16th January 2019
UK stocks opened moderately lower on Wednesday and the pound was volatile after Theresa May's proposed Brexit deal suffered an overwhelming defeat in the UK parliament.

Investors were left to ponder the liklihood of a range of alternative Brexit outcomes ranging from a no-deal scenario to a second referendum.

At 0856, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 9.78 points at 6.885.24.

Education group Pearson fell 5.2% as it narrowed its annual earnings guidance to around the midpoint of the previous range and tipped an improved performance in 2019.

Pearson also upgraded its cost savings guidance, though its underlying sales in 2018 slipped 1%. Its shares had rallied hard over the past 12 months.

Reckitt Benckiser shed 1.7% on news that chief executive Rakesh Kapoor intended retire by the end of 2019 after more than eight years at the helm of the consumer goods giant.

House builder Bovis Homes gained 3.6% on announcing that it expected annual profits to be slightly ahead of market expectations amid a 'significant step-up' in operating margins.

Cinema chain Cineworld softened 3.9% as investors were left disappointed by a 7.2% rise in annual revenue amid a strong US film slate.

Tullow Oil lost 1.5% as it forecast a 4% rise in annual revenue, after meeting the top end of its production guidance amid higher oil prices.

Fellow prospector Reabold Resources shed 3.7% on news that an exploration well in the UK North Sea, of which it held a non-operating interest, had failed to find hydrocarbons.

Technical-product supplier Diploma said it had appointed Johnny Thomson as its chief executive, while also reporting 9% rise in first-quarter sales. Its shares reversed 0.7%.

Saga, which offers insurance and other specialist products and services for the over-50s, said it had continued to trade in line with its expectations during its fiscal second half. Its shares gained 0.4%.

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