London pre-open: Stocks to edge lower as hard Brexit fears return

Fri 17 May 2019

LONDON (SHARECAST) - (Sharecast News) - London stocks were set to edge lower at the open on Friday following solid gains in the previous session amid renewed concerns about a possible hard Brexit.
The FTSE 100 was called to open down 10 points at 7,343.

Prime Minister Theresa May agreed on Thursday to set out the date of her departure in the first week of June after she makes one final attempt at getting her Brexit deal through parliament. Meanwhile, former Foreign Secretary and leading Brexiteer Boris Johnson confirmed he would run for the Tory Party leadership once May stood down.

London Capital Group analyst Jasper Lawler said: "Given the Tories' sharp losses in the polls and the Brexit party's dominance in polling for European elections, a hard-line Brexiteer Prime Minister is becoming more likely.

"The overriding fear for currency traders is that this means that a hard no deal Brexit is back on the table as an option. Soft Brexit optimism is fading, pulling the pound lower."

In corporate news, Hikma Pharmaceuticals said it made a good start to 2019 with healthy demand across its businesses. The company said it was on track to meet its guidance for financial performance in the current year.

Cairn Energy said group production for 2019 remains within guidance of 19,000-22,000 bopd for the first four months of the year adding that an update on production performance would be provided later in the year.

"We have a very busy exploration drilling programme in the second half of 2019 targeting more than 800m barrels of gross resource and includes six wells - three in the UK and Norway, and three in Mexico," said chief executive Simon Thomson said in a statement ahead of the company's AGM on Friday.

"Importantly, Cairn will operate five of these wells."

Eatery operator The Restaurant Group reported that current trading was in line with its expectations, with group like-for-like sales for the 19 weeks ended 12 May ahead 2.8%.

The FTSE 250 company, which owns brands such as Garfunkel's and Frankie & Benny's, said total sales were up 57% in the period, reflecting the benefit from the acquisition of Wagamama, as well as the record number of new pubs and concession sites opened during 2018.
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