Higher U.K. industrial output due to increase in pharma manufacturing…

The FTSE 100 index crawled higher as miners edged up after a mixed overnight session in Asia, following a positive US performance yesterday. Oil trade was sustained at higher levels at $51.43/bbl in early London trade before strengthening to a day high just shy of $52.50/bbl.

Sainsbury’s traded higher (+2.2%) as it reported a solid start to the year, with transaction growth across channels in Q1, despite declining like-for-like(LFL) sales. LFL sales in the 12c weeks to June declined 0.8% excluding fuel and were down 1.0% including fuel. Total retail sales were up 0.3% excluding fuel and down 0.1% including fuel in the quarter, as the grocer saw LFL transaction growth across all sales channels in the quarter.

AO world, a FTSE 250 appliance retailer was one of the main laggards in London today. The online retailer which specialised in household appliances traded over 5.3% lower as it announced a large widening in losses. Operating losses widened to £10.6m from £2.2m, as the Group declared FY adjusted EBITDA as slightly ahead of current consensus, and that a good start to trade had been made year-to-date. The company also announced the appointment of Geoff Cooper as Chairman, the current Chairman of Card Factory.

UK industrial output rose at the fastest rate in two years in April, according to figures reported by the ONS. A production growth rate of 1.6% on the year represents the quickest pace since April 2014, refuting the lower consensus estimates from economists. This out-performance was attributed to the manufacturing sector, including a 12.5% year-on-year rise in pharmaceuticals manufacturing – anecdotally this has been linked to an increase in exports. Car manufacturing, and electricity & gas were also described as contributors, with a colder than normal April coinciding with the switchover from coal to gas-generated electricity.

At the close European indices were mixed with the FTSE 100 +0.27%, with the CAC 40 -0.61%, and the DAX 30 -0.69%.

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