The FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) has opened lower but is still on track for 0.7% weekly gain, the index’s best performance since the end of May.
The blue chip share index fell by 0.22%, down 16 points to 7,396.87 by 11.20 GMT.
AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) shares fell for the second consecutive day , down another 1.7% on Thursday’s 3.5% loss, as CEO Pascal Soriot’s future remains uncertain.
Royal Mail (LON:RMG) shares fell 2.5% as the company announced new proposals for its pension scheme to offer employees a choice from a defined benefit scheme and a contribution scheme. Royal Mail it believes the risk from the proposed scheme would be “materially lower” than its current plan and a “manageable risk” to be funded by its £400 million annual pension contributions.
Shares in Standard Life (LON:SL) rose 0.7% as HSBC upgraded the investment manager to Buy from Hold. Standard Life’s merger with Aberdeen Asset Management is expected to be completed in August.
In the midcaps, Carillion (LON:CLLN) rose 7% after a four successive days of losses following the company’s appointment of HSBC as its joint financial adviser and corporate broker. The shares have lost 49% in the last five days lowering the construction and support services company’s market value to £239mn from £826mn.
In the currency markets, sterling is flat against the dollar up 0.07% to $1.2944 and 0.00% against the euro at €1.1345.