Mixed start for London stocks; FTSE 100 rises, FTSE 250 dips

London stocks saw a slow mixed opening on Wednesday, with the FTSE 100 index edging up 0.2% while the FTSE 250 declined by 0.1%. The FTSE 100 opened 10.87 points higher at 7,332.59, buoyed by robust updates from major companies. However, the FTSE 250 struggled, dragged down by a significant tumble in Aston Martin shares.

Today’s focal point is the upcoming interest rate decision from the US Federal Reserve slated for announcement at 18:00 GMT today.

In the FTSE 100, pharmaceutical giant GSK saw a 1.7% rise following its upgraded annual guidance after a strong third quarter. GSK now anticipates turnover growth between 12% and 13% for 2023, citing outstanding performance in the US launch of Arexvy, the world’s first RSV vaccine. CEO Emma Walmsley expressed confidence in the company’s competitive performance.

Retailer Next saw a 1.6% rise after raising its annual pretax profit guidance by £10 million to £885 million. The increase was attributed to a 4.0% annual growth in full-price sales from August to October, outstripping the projected 2.0%. The company, however, noted fluctuations in sales, attributing them to changing weather conditions rather than underlying consumer economic shifts.

Segro slipped 3.1% after Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock to ‘sell,’ and BP fell 1.1% following JPMorgan’s downgrade from ‘neutral’ to ‘underweight.’ Aston Martin Lagonda Global shares sunk 16% in the FTSE 250. The luxury sports car manufacturer reported a 15% rise in third-quarter revenue to £362.1 million, with a narrowed pretax loss. Despite this, it trimmed its 2023 wholesale volume guidance, causing investor concerns.

FTSE-All-Share listed fashion retailer ASOS shares plunged 11% as annual loss widened on revenue drop.