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UK stocks open 0.4% lower ahead of key Brexit vote

Tuesday, 12th March 2019
UK stocks opened lower on Tuesday as investors braced for a milestone UK parliamentary vote on Brexit.

Therasa May said she had secured 'legally binding' changes to her deal with the EU but it wasn't yet clear if they would satisfy hard Brexiteers within her own party.

At 0853, the FTSE 100 was down 31.18, or 0.4%, at 7.099.44.

Domino's Pizza pared early losses to rise 5.3%, despite a poor international performance sending its profits south. The company also said it expected to open fewer new stores this year, though it raised its dividend by 5.6%.

Wealth management group Quilter added 3.1% on booking a rise in adjusted annual profit, as it improved is operating margins and experienced positive net inflows into its funds.

Fashion retailer French Connection gained 1.6% as it returned to underlying profit, though it continued to grapple with a 'tough' retail environment as like-for-like-sales slipped 6.8%.

Fertilizer project developer Sirius Minerals jumped 7.5% after it revealed that it had been approached by a 'major global financial institution' with an alternative, and more attractive, funding proposal.

Oil producer Cairn Energy fell 2.4% as it swung to a deep annual loss owing to asset writedowns.

Auto dealer Pendragon reversed 1.1% as it swung to an annual loss, after writing down the value of its assets to the tune of £95.8m, while car sales fell.

Online gambling group 888 gained 5.0% after it booked a rise in annual profit, though it lowered its dividend amid lower sales.

Computer services provider Computacenter added 3.3% as its annual adjusted earnings rose on the back of higher sales.

Wood Group gained 0.3% after announcing that it had won a 'multi million dollar' construction contract from IR1 Group related to its Red Rock biofuels facility in Lakeview, Oregon.

Merchant banking group Close Brothers reported a decline in first half profits amid 'difficult market conditions' in its asset management and brokerage arm. Its shares nevertheless rose 0.5%.

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