StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks opened modestly higher on Tuesday after strength among banks was offset by a disappointing earnings update from advertising giant WPP.

At 0857, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 8.44 points, or 0.1%, at 7.513.04.

Lloyds and HSBC added 1.0% each after Italian banks were boosted by government indications the country wouldn't breach EU spending rules.

WPP, the world's biggest advertising company, slumped 5.8% after it reported a rise in first-half profit that was propped up by asset sales. Revenue and operating margins both fell.

House builder Redrow gained 6.7% on the back of a 65% increase in its annual dividend, underpinned by a 21% rise in profit driven by higher property completions and selling prices.

Budget carrier Ryanair ascended 0.5%, as it grew passenger numbers by 9% during the month of August following its acquisition of Austrian counterpart Lauda.

The airline, however, also complained that air traffic controller shortages and 'one unnecessary pilot strike' caused almost 550 flight cancellations during the month.

Hungarian-based rival Wizz Air Holdings climbed 0.9% after the addition of 20 new routes to places like Ukraine and Poland boosted its passenger numbers in August by a fifth on-year.

Cycling and motor equipment retailer Halfords rallied 6.0% after warn summer weather helped it boost sales.

Alfa Financial Software, meanwhile, slumped 17% after contract delays sent its first-half profits south.

Convenience store chain McColl's Retail Group fell 4.0%, after ongoing supply chain disruptions prompted a fall in first-quarter like-for-like revenue.

Packaging group DS Smith gained 1.5%, as it announced that it had seen 'good' like-for-like volume growth so far in the current financial year, while experiencing a continuing improvement in margins.

Scottish broadcaster STV Group gained 2.5%, despite it swinging to a first-half loss owing to costs associated with the closure of the STV2 channel, as investors focused on a 6% rise in revenue.

Energy cost consultancy Utilitywise shed 6.1% on news its order book at the end of its financial year had slumped 17% amid myriad operational challenges. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com