- UK stocks opened higher on a busy day for local corporate earnings brightened by pleasing updates from Lloyds and WPP that offset disappointing numbers from Sainsbury's and Reckitt Benckiser.

At 0821, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 24.66 points, or 0.4%, at 6,969.63.

High-street lender Lloyds rallied 4.4% to 45.5p, having reported a jump in first-quarter profit as bad debt provisions fell amid an ongoing economic recovery, offsetting lower income.

Lloyds also upgraded its guidance, forecasting its annual net interest margin to be in excess of 2.45% and its operating costs to fall to about £7.5 billion.

The bank said it was 'accruing dividends' and intended to resume a 'progressive and sustainable ordinary dividend policy'.

Supermarket group Sainsbury's dropped 2.0% to 237.2p on swinging to a £261 million full-year loss after rising grocery sales were offset by lower fuel sales and costs associated with adapting to the pandemic.

Sainsbury's said it continued to expect underlying pre-tax profit, which fell 39% to £356 million, to improve this year, expressing comfort with consensus forecasts of a rise to around £620 million.

It declared a final dividend of 7.4p per share, bringing the payout for the full year to 10.6p, which was flat year-on-year.

Advertising company WPP gained 2.7% to 977p after its first-quarter revenue rose 1.8% year-on-year amid a return to like-for-like growth in all of its business segments.

WPP also reiterated its guidance or the full year.

Consumer goods group Reckitt Benckiser fell 1.7% to £64.7305, having reported a 1.1% fall in first-quarter revenue as a surge hygiene products sales was offset by falling health and nutrition revenue, plus negative FX movements.

Reckitt Benckiser's revenue for the three months through March fell to £3.51 billion, though like-for-like revenue rose 4.1%. FX revenue fell 5.2%. The company also reiterated its full-year guidance.

Elsewhere, British bourse operator London Stock Exchange added 0.3% as it £75.00 reported a rise in first-quarter income, led by new business and strong customer retention.

LSE's first-quarter total income was up 3.9%, with good growth in data & analytics and capital markets. On a reported pro-forma basis, income was down 1.2% on a pro-forma basis.

House builder Persimmon climbed 2.2% to £32.17 on news that its forward sales position in the year to date was up 23%, in what it described as a 'strong' start to 2021.

Persimmon's forward sales from 1 January to date, including legal completions, had risen to about £3.0 billion, up from around £2.4 billion year-on-year.

Electronics retailer Dixons Carphone shed 1.1% to 155.5p on announcing that it expected to report annual adjusted profits broadly in line with market expectations, as strong online growth boosted sales.

Metrology and healthcare technology group Renishaw, which put itself up for sale in March, added 0.4% to £64.50, having posted a large rise in year-to-date profit and affirmed full-year guidance.

Renishaw's pre-tax profit for the nine months through March increased to £106.3 million, up from £19.7 million year-on-year, as revenue climbed 4% to £407.4 million and it cut costs.

Telecom testing and assurance group Spirent Communications firmed 1.3% to 255.2p after it recorded flat first-quarter revenue growth, but notched order growth of 8%.

Challenger lender Metro Bank rose 1.5% to 117.2p as it reported flat first-quarter growth in its lending book, though deposit volumes rose.

Metro Bank's loans at 31 March amounted to £12.05 billion, down slightly on £12.09 billion at the end of December. Deposit volumes rose 2% £16.41 billion, up from £16.07 billion at the end of December. Story provided by