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FTSE opens 0.6% higher after US tech companies beat estimates

Fri, 31st Jul 2020

UK stocks opened higher on Friday following strong earnings updates from US tech companies including Apple and Amazon, though investors remained wary of a resurgence of Covid-19 cases around the globe. At 0833, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 32.91 points, or 0.6%, at 6,022.90. British-Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines descended 5.4% to 171.2p on announcing it would raise up to €2.75bn from a share issue, as it swung to a first-half loss. NatWest, the lender formally known as Royal Bank of Scotland, slipped 0.3% to 105.6p as it, too, swung to a first-half loss, having racked up impairment charges of £2.86bn and seeing its margins shrink. British American Tobacco advanced 2.0% to £27.105 after it posted a rise in first-half operating earnings, having eked out a 0.9% rise in sales. Telecom bellwether BT rose 0.7% to 108.55p after it reinstated guidance and forecast a return to earnings growth 'beyond this year'. Miner and commodities trader Glencore added 0.3% to 177.58p even as it cut its output guidance for nickel and coal, citing pandemic-related disruptions. London Stock Exchange gained 0.9% to £84.24, having hiked its dividend after it booked a rise in underlying earnings amid revenue growth at its information services and post-trade divisions. The exchange operator declared an interim dividend of 23.3p per share, up 16% on-year. Pet product retailer and veterinary business Pets at Home rallied 6.8% to 273.8p despite its first-quarter revenue slipping 0.7%. Pets at Home said conditions had improved in the latter part of the trading period after lockdowns were eased. Polling and data group YouGov shed 0.6% to 795p, even as it announced growth in revenue and profits in its financial year through July, in line with its expectations. Specialist lender Paragon Banking added 1.2% to 320.12p on announcing that payment deferrals had been applied to just under 21% of its loan balances owing to the Covid-19 crisis. Paragon Banking said it also saw no need to add further credit provisions for the third quarter. Investment group Scottish American Investment Company gained 1.0% to 421p, having bumped up its dividend by 2.1% after it posted a modestly positive first-half performance. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com

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