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UK stocks open lower as May gets Brexit breathing space

Friday, 22nd March 2019
UK stocks opened lower on Friday after the European Union gave Theresa May an extra two weeks to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

The pound pared losses, lowering the value of UK companies' offshore earnings, but remained volatile.

At 0841, the FTSE 100 was down 39.25 points, or 0.5%, at 7.316.06.

Industrial technology company Smiths Group climbed 1.9%, despite booking a 13% fall in first-half profit, as it revealed plans to spin off its under-performing medical business into a separately-listed company.

Royal Mail shed 0.6% after it announced that it had appointed its current deputy chairman Keith Williams to the chairman's role after considering internal and external candidates.

Easyjet gained 0.6%, despite stating that it may have to force non-EU investors to sell their shares in the company in the event of a no-deal Brexit, to ensure EU nationals had a minimum 50% stake.

Currently, EU nationals owned 49.92% of EasyJet, though EasyJet said it would target a 50.5% holding to maintain some headroom.

Component system manufacturer Senior added 0.5% on revealing that its aerospace division had been selected by Saab to supply components for the Boeing T-X advanced pilot training system.

Fund administration services provider Sanne gained 0.6% after it posted a 5.8% rise in annual profit, driven by strong sales growth in the US and Europe.

Private equity investor LMS Capital dropped 3.8% as it swung to a loss owing to a slump in its investment performance.

Construction company Henry Boot gained 0.4%, even as it posted a small fall in profits and warned 2019 would be challenging due to Brexit.

Oxford Instruments won a global tender to supply its cryogenic equipment to the Institute of Physics-Chinese Academy of Sciences. Its shares were unchanged.

Packaging group Robinson jumped 9.3% despite it only posting a modest annual profit, as it forecast higher margins in 2019.

Solo Oil dropped 3.9% after it announced it was targeting acquisitions in Europe and North Africa to meet a new production target of at least 5,000 barrels of oil per day within the next three years. Story provided by

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