London pre-open: Stocks to edge up after retail sales, borrowing data

Fri 20 Nov 2020

LONDON (SHARECAST) - (Sharecast News) - London stocks were set to edge higher at the open on Friday following losses in the previous session, as investors digest the latest UK retail sales and borrowing data.
The FTSE 100 was called to open 14 points higher at 6,348.

Figures released earlier by the Office for National Statistics showed government borrowing hit its highest level on record for that month in October but was lower than expected, while retail sales rose for the sixth consecutive month, underpinned by the online segment.

Capital Economics said: "The decent rise in retail sales in October and the smaller increase in government borrowing suggests that the economy held up better than expected when the Covid-19 tiered restrictions were being implemented.

"But the second lockdown that began in November will probably prompt retail sales to fall again and public borrowing to rise faster."

In corporate news, accounting software firm Sage lifted its dividend as it reported an 8.5% rise in organic recurring revenue to 1.6bn, driven by growth from existing and new customers, principally in North America and Northern Europe.

The company said the result was underpinned by software subscription revenue growth of 20.5% to 1.14bn. Sage guided for organic recurring revenue growth for fiscal 2021 to be 3% - 5%, weighted towards the second half of the year.

The dividend was increased 2% to 17.25%.

Hochschild Mining reinstated its dividend and said operating costs in the current financial year would be lower than previous guidance.

The FTSE 250 miner's board approved an interim dividend of 4 cents a share at a meeting on 19 November, Hochschild said in an update. The company had scrapped its final dividend for 2019 and postponed its interim payout because of Covid-19.

Hochschild also said it was on track to meet revised production guidance for the year to the end of December and that cost of operations would be lower than earlier guidance at between $1,200 and $1,250 per gold equivalent ounce or $14.0 and $14.5 per silver equivalent ounce.
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