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Important information: The value of investments can go down as well as up so you may get back less than you invest. Investors should note that the views expressed may no longer be current and may have already been acted upon. This is a third-party news feed and may not reflect Fidelity’s views.

London open: Gains modest but stocks rise to seven-month high

(Sharecast News) - UK stocks edged higher to a seven-month high on Friday morning, though gains were likely to be limited in a shortened trading session ahead of the New Year's break. London's FTSE 100 was up 0.13% at 7,732.50 after nearly an hour's trade; the index hasn't closed higher than this level since 23 May.

Markets across Europe were putting in gains in morning trade, with the Stoxx 600 index up 0.25% by 0900 GMT. Markets in the UK will close early at 1230 GMT; Germany's DAX and Austria's Wiener Börse will also be doing a half-day; while all major markets across Europe and the US remain open as usual.

Leading the risers on the FTSE 100 were three stocks heavily exposed to China - fashion giant Burberry, insurance group Prudential and emerging markets-focused bank Standard Chartered - after the country's central bank vowed to boost consumer prices amid rising deflation risks.

In a statement released late on Thursday, the People's Bank of China said it would "promote price recovery from low levels and keep prices at reasonable levels". However, it did not include any specific details regarding its plans.

Company news was thin on the ground again in London, as regulatory filings remain sparse between the Christmas and New Year's public holidays. The only notable announcements came from small caps Duke Royalty and Saietta Group.

Duke Royalty said in an update that it expected recurring cash revenue of £6.3m in its third quarter, representing a 12% increase year-on-year. It also announced an investment of CAD 8.6m (£5.1m) into its existing partner Creō-Tech Industrial Group, bringing its total exposure to CAD 27.1m, with the investment intended for refinancing.

Saietta Group reported first-half group income of £1.4m, alongside a gross profit of £0.1m with a gross margin of 9%, and a loss from continuing operations of £7.9m before tax. Operational achievements included securing significant orders from AYRO and restructuring agreements with ConMet, while developments since the half-year ended included securing a substantial order for its RFT eDrive system in India and raising £7.14m to support growth.

In economic news, UK house prices fell by a higher-than-expected 1.8% year on year in December, mortgage lender Nationwide said on Friday. Expectations were for a 1.4% fall. Prices remained flat on a monthly basis.

"Housing market activity was weak throughout 2023," said Nationwide chief economist Robert Gardner. "The total number of transactions has been running at (about) 10% below pre-pandemic levels over the past six months, with those involving a mortgage down even more (about 20%), reflecting the impact of higher borrowing costs," he added.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,732.50 0.13% FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,713.36 -0.03% techMARK (TASX) 4,300.55 0.12%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Rentokil Initial (RTO) 446.90p 0.74% Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,422.00p 0.74% Prudential (PRU) 884.60p 0.73% Flutter Entertainment (CDI) (FLTR) 13,940.00p 0.72% Standard Chartered (STAN) 659.40p 0.64% Pearson (PSON) 970.80p 0.62% Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 2,301.00p 0.61% Relx plc (REL) 3,111.00p 0.58% Ashtead Group (AHT) 5,480.00p 0.55% BAE Systems (BA.) 1,107.50p 0.54%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

BP (BP.) 462.95p -0.48% 3i Group (III) 2,426.00p -0.45% Endeavour Mining (EDV) 1,773.00p -0.45% SEGRO (SGRO) 893.40p -0.42% BT Group (BT.A) 122.45p -0.41% Fresnillo (FRES) 588.00p -0.37% Schroders (SDR) 435.00p -0.37% Land Securities Group (LAND) 713.80p -0.36% Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,702.00p -0.32% F&C Investment Trust (FCIT) 957.00p -0.31%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Ferrexpo (FXPO) 89.00p 5.08% Mobico Group (MCG) 82.05p 4.66% Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,628.00p 2.13% Harbour Energy (HBR) 310.40p 1.64% Paragon Banking Group (PAG) 697.00p 1.23% NCC Group (NCC) 131.40p 1.08% Future (FUTR) 798.50p 1.08% HGCapital Trust (HGT) 434.50p 1.05% Keller Group (KLR) 887.00p 1.03% Trustpilot Group (TRST) 152.60p 0.99%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Baltic Classifieds Group (BCG) 227.50p -5.41% Ithaca Energy (ITH) 142.60p -3.13% Moonpig Group (MOON) 156.00p -2.26% Savills (SVS) 971.00p -2.02% Greencoat UK Wind (UKW) 148.90p -1.85% Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited NPV (SONG) 70.50p -1.67% Mercantile Investment Trust (The) (MRC) 218.00p -1.58% Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Income Fund Limited (SEQI) 84.20p -1.52% Scottish American Inv Company (SAIN) 529.00p -1.31% Rathbones Group (RAT) 1,728.00p -1.26%

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Important information: This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to one of Fidelity’s advisers or an authorised financial adviser of your choice. When you are thinking about investing in shares, it’s generally a good idea to consider holding them alongside other investments in a diversified portfolio of assets. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.

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