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UK stocks open down 0.2% as Italian coalition government teeters

Friday, 9th August 2019
UK stocks opened moderately weaker on Friday as US-China trade tensions lingered and one of Italy's ruling parties withdrew support for the country's coalition government.

At 0853, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 11.49 points, or 0.16%, at 7.274.41.

Advertising giant WPP rallied 7.5% to 983.6p, even as it booked a 44% slide in first-half profit, owing to shrinking margins and a one-off gain in the previous year.

The company also stuck to its full-year guidance, including for a 1.5%-to-2.0% fall in adjusted revenue.

Gambling company William Hill rose 6.3% to 156p, despite posting a first-half loss owing, in part, to a UK regulatory cap on bet sizes.

The company also showed signs of positive progress in the budding US market, where its market share in states that had legalised gambling climbed to 27%.

Security company G4S gained 5.0% to 192.85p after it reported an increase in half-yearly profits and said it was planning to separate its cash solution business from the group.

Hikma Pharmaceuticals rallied 5.6% to 1943.5p after the generic drugs maker upped its annual outlook on the back of successful new product launches.

Rival pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca added 0.5% to 7265p, on announcing positive results from a clinical trial for its metastatic non-small cell lung cancer drug, which had 'significantly' improved survival rates.

Travel group On the Beach sank 17% to 372.4p as it warned on profits, thanks to a weaker pound, owing to no-deal Brexit fears, increasing its costs.

Co-work and workspace brands operator IWG gained 1.3% to 416.5p as it agreed to sell its Taiwanese operations to TKP as part of franchise deal for £22.7m.

Training system supplier to the defence and security sectors Pennant International tumbled 32% to 52.94p as it warned of full-year results materially below market expectations, due to contract delays.

Property development finance provider Urban Exposure fell 3.6% to 48.2p on revealing that an individual employee's IT account had been hacked.

The company said it did 'not believe that this will have a material impact on the business going forward'. The employee was not in a managerial role, it added.

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com

Related Shares: G4s, Hikma, On The Beach, William Hill, Wpp

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