Vodafone share hike helps FTSE 100 move higher

Blue chip giant Vodafone has dialled up big share gains after hiking its earnings outlook, as the wider FTSE 100 Index lifted on optimism over the US-China trade war.

The mobile phone firm was one of the biggest risers in the top tier, with a 3% gain after it upgraded its profit guidance to between 14.8 billion and 15 billion euros (£12.7 billion-£12.9 billion), overshadowing news of half-year losses.

Vodafone’s stock market cheer helped push London’s FTSE 100 36.9 points higher to 7365.4 – with sentiment also helped by optimism ahead of US President Donald Trump’s key speech on America’s trade policy.

G7 Summit 2019
G7 Summit 2019

In currency markets, the pound lost some of Monday’s boost as initial City excitement faded over the Brexit Party’s decision not to contest previously Conservative-held seats in the upcoming General Election.

Currency traders had been optimistic that Nigel Farage’s decision to stand down some Brexit Party candidates could reduce the likelihood of a hung parliament, sending the pound sharply higher at the start of the week.

But as the cheer died down, sterling only just held firm at 1.285 US dollars and lifted 0.1% to 1.17 euros.

Across the Atlantic, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was cautious as Mr Trump outlined new trade policies.

In Europe, the Dax in Germany lifted 0.7% and the Cac 40 was 0.6% higher.

UK stocks in sharp focus included Vodafone, which jumped 5p higher to 165.2p.

It warned the end of a long-running court battle with authorities in India could lead to the telecoms giant quitting the country, while losing the case also pushed it to a 1.9 billion euro (£1.6 billion) half-year loss.

But investors took heart from its rosier earnings guidance, as well as a 0.4% rise in revenues to 21.9 billion euros (£18.8 billion) for the six months to September 30.

ITV was another Footsie riser, ahead 2% or 2.4p at 138.3p after it saw total advertising lift 1% in the third quarter thanks to a Rugby World Cup boost.

But it was not a positive session for retailer B&M, which revealed it could abandon its first-ever international market after it was forced to write off its German business Jawoll, taking a major hit to profits.

Profit before tax fell 70.5% to £32.2 million in the first half of the year after it booked a £59.5 million impairment charge from the German unit.

Shares in the FTSE 250 listed firm tumbled 6% or 21.2p to 356.8p.

Online ticketing business Trainline also hit the buffers after a group of investors led by its biggest shareholder, private equity firm KKR, sold their stakes in the group.

Shares closed 5% or 20p lower at 422p in the second tier after the investors – also including Ares, Index Ventures and Alven Capital – raised £279 million after cashing in their 68 million shares, which represented about a 14.1% stake in Trainline.

The biggest FTSE 100 risers were Evraz up 14.1p at 365.1p, M&G 8.2p ahead at 228.8p, Aveva 150p stronger at 4408p and Vodafone 5p higher at 165.2p,

The biggest FTSE 100 fallers were DCC down 458p at 6916p, Fresnillo off 30.4p at 626p, Ocado 27.5p lower at 1074.5p and Tesco down 3.9p at 233.8p.