(ADVISORY- Reuters plans to replace intra-day European and UK stock market reports with a Live Markets blog on Eikon - see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets for site in development. See the bottom of the report for more details)
* FTSE 100 up 0.4 pct
* Kingfisher posts solid start to the year
* Imperial Brands boosted by Barclays upgrade
* Coca-Cola HBC hit by stake sale
By Alistair Smout
LONDON, May 24 (Reuters) - Britain’s top share index rose on Tuesday, helped by well-received trading statement from Kingfisher and a broker upgrade for Imperial Brands.
Britain’s top share index was up 28.20 points, or 0.4 percent, at 6,164.63 by 0802 GMT, having opened the day slightly lower.
Kingfisher rose 2.1 percent, among top gainers after the owner of the B&Q chain reported a 3.6 percent increase in like-for-like sales in the first three months of its financial year. Traders said its UK and French divisions had performed better than expected.
“In its first half-year, it is a little early to be judging the returns from the five-year ‘One Kingfisher’ strategy but management is pleased with progress so far,” David Stoddart, analyst at Edison Investment Research, said in a note.
Tobacco firm Imperial Brands rose 2 percent, benefitting from an upgrade by Barclays to “overweight” from “equal weight”.
“Imperial is executing strongly. Organic sales momentum is improving and margin/cash generation increases underpin (at least) 10 percent dividend growth,” analysts at Barlcays said in a note.
“Moreover, we are increasingly confident margins will surprise to the upside and that the US is performing ahead of expectations.”
Top faller was Coca-Cola HBC, down 3.2 percent after a shareholder said it was going to sell its 1.5 percent stake in the bottling company.
ADVISORY- Reuters plans to replace intra-day European and UK stock market reports with a Live Markets blog on Eikon (see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets for site in development). In a real-time, multimedia format from 0600 London time through the 1630 closing bell, it will include the best of our market reporting, Stocks Buzz service, Eikon graphics, Reuters pictures, eye-catching research and market zeitgeist. Breaking news and dramatic market moves will continue to be alerted to all clients and we will continue to provide a short opening story and comprehensive closing reports.
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Mike Dolan, Markets Editor EMEA. (Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Keith Weir)