FTSE 100 OPEN: Stocks higher before Osborne’s third Budget

The FTSE 100 was higher in early trading as investors wait to see what George Osborne will say in his third Budget as chancellor.

As of 0823 GMT, the FTSE was up 24.13 points to 5,915.54. Osborne will present the Budget at 1230 GMT today, which is expected to include an increase in personal tax allowances and a cut in the top rate of income tax.

International service company Serco Group showed the largest gains, rising 3.14% to 559p. The stock benefited from an upgraded recommendation from “neutral” to “overweight” by HSBC.

Supermarket Sainsbury’s advanced 2.06% to 311.80p, while retailer Marks & Spencer rose 1.90% to 387.20p. Building supplies company Wolseley gained 1.72% to hit 2,536p and telecommunications stock Vodafone was up 1.67% to 173.65p.

The biggest fallers, as of 0823 GMT, were insurer Aviva, investments company Standard Life, resources stock Eurasian, temporary power generation firm Aggreko and fashion retailer Next.