StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks opened lower on Friday as Brexit day was accompanied by a strengthening pound that weighed on the value of export-focused companies.

At 0856, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 21.87 points, or 0.3%, at 7,360.09.

Luxury car maker Aston Martin revved 25% higher to 504.8p on announcing that it would raise £500m, partly via a £182m investment from Formula One billionaire Lawrence Stroll.

The rest of the capital would be raised from a rights issue, for which details were pending.

Power utility SSE edged back 0.1% to £15.00 after it said its renewable energy output was running behind plan, potentially affecting annual earnings guidance that it nevertheless maintained.

Soft-drinks maker Britvic gained 3.1% to 903.5p as it reported a 4.9% rise in first-quarter revenue and said it remained confident of completing a sale of its French juice business this year.

Broadband provided TalkTalk rose 1.1% to 114.2p, even as its revenue slipped in the third quarter, though it stuck to its earnings guidance for the full year.

Specialist component manufacturer Senior shed 0.8% to 165.7p after it warned revenue and margins at its key aerospace division would fall in 2020 due to the ongoing grounding of Boeing's 737 MAX aircraft.

Iron ore group Ferrexpo dropped 2.4% to 137.05p on revealing that a Ukrainian court had frozen its stake in Ferrexpo Poltava Mining, amid a corruption probe into former chief executive Kostyantin Zhevago.

Wealth manager Hargreaves Lansdown lost 5% to £17.855, despite reporting a rise in first-half profit underpinned by new business inflows.

Recruitment company Staffline, already reeling from accounting error problems, dropped 7.6% to 68.35p as it warned of adjusted earnings 'materially below' its most previous guidance.

Research and data analytics group YouGov gained 0.6% to 648p after it said it was trading in line with its expectations for the first half, amid a particularly strong performance from its data products in the US and UK.

London West End property investor Shaftesbury firmed 0.3% to 902.5p on the back of 'high footfall and good trading' throughout the festive period.

Advertising company M&C Saatchi dropped 8.6% to 101p, having confirmed that the UK's financial watchdog was investigating the company after it made errors in its accounts.

Homewares retailer Laura Ashley sank 10% to 2.93p after announcing that chief executive Kwan Cheong Ng would retire at the end of April.

Smart Metering Systems ticked 0.9% higher to 497.6p on growing its annual recurring revenue by a fifth, putting it on track to meet market expectations for the year.

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