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UK stocks open flat as investors mull inflation outlook

Tuesday, 13th March 2018
UK stocks opened with little direction on Tuesday following mixed offshore leads, as investors brace for the release of key US inflation data.

At 0857, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 1.93 points at 7,216.69. Antofagasta gained 2.2% after the copper miner booked a substantial rise in earnings and dividend, buoyed by higher product prices.

Fashion retailer French Connection rallied 18% after growth at its wholesale business helped reverse a falling overall revenue trend.

Broking group TP ICAP slipped 5.5% as acquisition and integration costs drove a fall in annual profit, while underlying earnings were flat.

In the insurance sector, Legal & General said it had bought out the remaining share of CALA Homes it didn't already own for at least £315m. Its shares lost 0.7%.

Old Mutual, meanwhile, claimed legal action in the US involving Travelers Companies and St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company was 'without merit'. Its shares were little changed, falling 0.3%.

Cairn Energy swung into the red, as two new North Sea fields went live as oil prices were recovering. The shares pared early losses to fall 0.6%.

Plastic products manufacturer RPC Group said it had acquired polythene film provider Nordfolien for €75m. The shares eked out a 0.2% gain.

Wildwood Kitchen owner Tasty tumbled deeper into the red, blaming difficult market conditions in the UK restaurant sector. Its shares shed 4.4%.

Smart Metering Systems booked a modest fall in annual profit after rising revenue was offset by higher costs. Its shares gained 0.4%.

Documents distributor Midwich fell 5.5% after a large rise in annual profit, boosted by higher margins, failed to impress the market.

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