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UK stocks open 0.2% stronger, led by miners

UK stocks opened higher on Wednesday, led by gains among mining companies.

At 0855, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 15.25 points, or 0.2%, at 7,738.23.

Anglo American and BHP Billiton were up 3.1% and 1.7%, respectively.

UK luxury fashion group Burberry firmed 1.8% as it posted a rise in annual profit, mostly owing to cost cutting that offset a fall in revenue.

Pub owner and brewer Marston's shed 4.9% after it swung to a first-half loss and kept its dividend steady. Write-downs on the value of the group's estate had offset a rise in revenue.

Fellow pub owner Mitchells & Butlers was having an even worse morning. Its shares slumped 10% on the back of a fall in profit, driven by higher staff, property and food costs and severe snow storms keeping punters at home.

Software group Micro Focus International gained 9.1% after it said it expected to beat its recently-downgraded revenue guidance for the first half thanks to the closing of a large licence deal.

Paddy Power Betfair gained 1.4% after the gambling group confirmed media speculation that it was in discussions regarding a potential acquisition of FanDuel to target the US sports betting market.

Bus and train service operator National Express Group rose 2.3% after it reported that revenue grew by 6.2% in the first fourth months of the year on a constant currency basis, boosted by a strong performance at its North American bus business.

Cinema chain Cineworld said popular films such as "Black Panther" and "Avengers: Infinity War" had supported 10.1% growth year-to-date revenue. Its shares, however, eased back 0.2%.

SSP Group, which operates food and beverage outlets at travel locations, posted a large rise in first-half profit after higher passenger volumes at airports helped boost sales. Its shares gained 1.5%.

Men's suit retailer Moss Bros Group rallied 11% after it said sales in the first 15 weeks of the financial year slid 2.4%. The fall nevertheless represented an improvement since a gloomy trading update released in March, when the company was experiencing stock shortages.

Dual-listed packaging company Mondi Group said first-quarter earnings grew 15% after higher average selling prices helped offset rising operating costs, maintenance disruptions and foreign exchange losses. Its shares gained 2.1% on the news. Story provided by