- UK stocks opened moderately lower on Wednesday and the pound was volatile after Theresa May's proposed Brexit deal suffered an overwhelming defeat in the UK parliament.

Investors were left to ponder the likelihood of a range of alternative Brexit outcomes ranging from a no-deal scenario to a second referendum.

At 0856, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 9.78 points at 6.885.24.

Education group Pearson fell 5.2% as it narrowed its annual earnings guidance to around the midpoint of the previous range and tipped an improved performance in 2019.

Pearson also upgraded its cost savings guidance, though its underlying sales in 2018 slipped 1%. Its shares had rallied strongly over the past 12 months.

Reckitt Benckiser shed 1.7% on news that chief executive Rakesh Kapoor intended retire by the end of 2019 after more than eight years at the helm of the consumer goods giant.

House builder Bovis Homes gained 3.6% on announcing that it expected annual profits to be slightly ahead of market expectations amid a 'significant step-up' in operating margins.

Cake-maker Finsbury Food slumped 12% as its first-half sales declined 3.5% in a 'difficult macro environment' marked by rising ingredient costs.

Cinema chain Cineworld softened 3.9% amid investor disappointment with a 7.2% rise in annual revenue recorded amid a strong US film slate.

Tullow Oil lost 1.5% as it forecast a 4% rise in annual revenue, after meeting the top end of its production guidance amid higher oil prices.

Fellow prospector Reabold Resources shed 3.7% on news that an exploration well in the UK North Sea, of which it held a non-operating interest, had failed to find hydrocarbons.

Technical-product supplier Diploma said it had poached Compass Group finance director Johnny Thomson as its chief executive, while also reporting 9% rise in first-quarter sales. Its shares reversed 0.7%.

Saga, which offers insurance and other specialist products and services for the over-50s, said it had continued to trade in line with its expectations during the second half. Its shares gained 0.4%.

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