StockMarketWire | 20/03/2018 - 11:34
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UK stocks pushed higher on Tuesday as investors braced for a key US interest rate decision due Wednesday.

At 0859, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 18.38 points, or 0.3%, at 7.061,31.

Rio Tinto said it had agreed to sell its interests in two Australian coal developments to Glencore for $1.7bn. Rio Tinto gained 1.0%, while Glencore rose 0.2%.

Imperial Brands, meanwhile, said it had sold a range of 'other' tobacco products including roll your own brands, tubes, tips, cigarette papers and other accessories in the US, for an undisclosed sum. Its shares were flat.

Online grocer Ocado Group fell 2.1% after harsh winter storms limited growth in first-quarter revenue to a solid, but still disappointing 11.7%.

GKN continued its war of words with takeover suitor Melrose Industries, calling Melrose's recent warning of overburdened pension liabilities 'misleading.' GKN shed 1.0%, while Melrose gained 0.5%.

Housebuilder Bellway gained 2.5% after it hiked its dividend and profits amid buoyant housing construction markets.

Services company John Wood Group swung to an annual loss after it booked one-off costs related to its acquisition of Amec Foster Wheeler and experienced cost overruns at some projects. Its shares eased down 0.1%.

Shopping mall landlord Hammerson fell 1.1% after announcing that it had secured £1.5b of debt to help fund its proposed acquisition of Intu. Hammerson itself is the subject of a bid from France's Kl├ępierre.

Plastic piping and ventilation system manufacturer Polypipe Group posted a modest rise in annual profit, as rising input costs were offset by increased demand from the housing sector. Its shares gained 0.3%.

By StockMarketWire | 20/03/2018 - 06:12

The FTSE 100 is expected to start the day in positive territory but caution remains in the City ahead of today's inflation data.

UK and international investors continue to adopt a wait-and-see approach in advance of this week's key interest rate announcement from the new chief of the US Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell.

Meanwhile, global sentiment wasn't helped overnight by a large sell-off in the US technology sector, triggered by the storm surrounding Facebook, which saw around $35 billion wiped off the company's market value.

At the time of writing, financial spread betting firms were pointing to a 33 point rise when trading gets underway, reversing some of yesterday's hefty losses.

Traders will also be busy analysing the latest batch of Corporate updates, with reports due from online grocery retailer Ocado, housebuilder Bellway and online gambling firms 888 and Jackpotjoy.

Meanwhile, the ongoing Brexit negotiations appear to be developing as the European Union and the UK agreed to a transition period of 21 months, albeit with several caveats.


In the US overnight, the Dow ended 335.6 points lower at 24,610.91, the S&P 500 fell 39.09 points to 2,712.92 and the Nasdaq was off by 137.75 points at 7,344.24.

In Asia this morning, the Nikkei 225 was 140.09 points lower at 21,340.81, the Hang Seng was down 115.9 points at 31,397.86 but the Shanghai Composite was up a pinch at 3,281.25.


At around 6:00am, WTI crude was 0.37% higher at $62.29 per barrel and Brent was up 0.41% at $66.32 per barrel.

Gold was 0.19% softer at $1,315.3 per ounce, silver was down 0.18% but copper was up by 0.1%.


Trading Statements: Ocado.

Interim Results: Bellway, Ceres Power and Genedrive.

Final Results: 888 Holdings, Cloudcall, DP Eurasia, EnQuest, Faroe Petroleum, Guaranty Trust Bank, The Gym Group, Hansteen, IQE, Judges Scientific, Jackpotjoy, Mears, Polypipe and John Wood Group.

AGM's: Chemring, Electronic Data Processing, Blue Prism and Wynnstay.


Consumer Price Index, Producer Price Index and Retail Price Index figures are due later this morning.