(Sharecast News) - London stocks edged higher in early trade on Tuesday, with sterling still under pressure as investors eyed the latest round of Brexit talks due to take place in London later in the day.
At 0830 BST, the FTSE 100 was up 0.4% at 5,959.21, while the pound was down 0.2% against the dollar at 1.3138, having fallen sharply on Monday amid worries about a hard Brexit.
Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said sterling was "continuing to give up ground as Boris Johnson guns down the remaining cordiality between the UK and EU".
"It is perhaps surprising that the pound didn't open even lower, given that the relationship between both sides seems to be fast approaching a fresh nadir."
In equity markets, JD Sports Fashion was sitting pretty at the top of the FTSE 100 as it forecast annual pre-tax profits of at least £265m, scrapped its interim dividend and reported a slump in half-year earnings.
Packaging company DS Smith was in the black after saying it will pay an interim dividend as trading has improved.
Credit-checking firm Experian rallied as it lifted its second-quarter expectations following stronger trading in July and August.
Elsewhere, BT jumped after an upgrade to 'overweight' at Barclays, while Hargreaves Lansdown, Standard Life Aberdeen and St James's Place were all higher after upgrades to 'buy' at Berenberg.
Royal Mail gained after a well-received update on trading for the first five months of the 2020-21 financial year.
On the downside, worries about a hard Brexit dented the housebuilder sector, with Persimmon, Barratt Developments, Taylor Wimpey, Berkeley, Crest Nicholson and Bellway all lower.
Meanwhile, Vistry fell after the housebuilder posted a slump in first-half profit but said markets were recovering.
Budget airline easyJet flew lower after saying it was cutting its flying schedule as changing government travel restrictions and coronavirus quarantine measures continued to hit demand. The stock was also hit by a downgrade to 'sell' at Goodbody.
Builders' merchant Travis Perkins slumped after saying it swung to a first-half loss as revenue fell due to the Covid crisis.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 5,959.21 0.37%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 17,644.25 0.01%
techMARK (TASX) 3,814.40 0.38%
FTSE 100 - Risers
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 782.40p 7.98%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 288.90p 5.86%
Experian (EXPN) 2,906.00p 3.82%
Aviva (AV.) 286.60p 3.09%
BT Group (BT.A) 106.00p 2.42%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,632.50p 2.03%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 448.90p 1.81%
Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) 236.00p 1.72%
Informa (INF) 406.80p 1.67%
Next (NXT) 5,878.00p 1.52%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Persimmon (PSN) 2,468.00p -3.78%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 2,289.00p -2.35%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 502.00p -2.33%
GVC Holdings (GVC) 808.80p -2.22%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 114.75p -2.05%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 4,465.00p -1.80%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,976.00p -1.69%
Rightmove (RMV) 615.20p -1.57%
Aveva Group (AVV) 4,816.00p -1.45%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,086.00p -1.45%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Royal Mail (RMG) 197.90p 13.34%
National Express Group (NEX) 132.10p 4.26%
Genus (GNS) 3,700.00p 3.99%
Future (FUTR) 1,772.00p 2.90%
Capital & Counties Properties (CAPC) 131.40p 2.66%
Hill & Smith Holdings (HILS) 1,244.00p 2.47%
C&C Group (CCR) 210.00p 2.44%
William Hill (WMH) 184.95p 2.18%
Playtech (PTEC) 368.00p 1.94%
Hammerson (HMSO) 275.00p 1.81%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,137.50p -6.72%
easyJet (EZJ) 602.20p -4.17%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 225.80p -3.91%
Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 200.60p -3.65%
FirstGroup (FGP) 48.70p -3.47%
WH Smith (SMWH) 1,223.00p -2.70%
Marshalls (MSLH) 647.00p -2.56%
Helios Towers (HTWS) 154.40p -2.28%
Capita (CPI) 30.74p -2.10%
Bellway (BWY) 2,380.00p -1.69%
(Sharecast News) - Pfizer's most senior UK executive has criticised the call to forgo patents on Covid vaccines, warning that it would lead to a global shortage of raw materials. Ben Osborn, who leads the American drugs giant in the UK, said an intellectual-property waiver was "not the answer". "We would see a very rapid short-term impact," he said. "It could allow any organisation to start procuring some of these basic raw materials across multiple countries." Osborn, 44, said it could even mean that existing vaccine manufacturers - which include Astra Zeneca and US biotech venture Moderna - would be unable to fulfil their obligations to deliver doses. - Sunday Times