London open: Stocks nudge lower as risk-off caution continues

Mon 21 Aug 2017

LONDON (SHARECAST) - (ShareCast News) - London stocks were a touch weaker in early trade on Monday as investors remained cautious amid geopolitical tensions, although strength in the heavily-weighted mining sector helped to keep losses to a minimum.
At 0840 BST, the FTSE 100 was down 0.1% to 7,313.81, with a solid showing by miners helping to offset weakness in the banking sector. Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Anglo American all racked up healthy gains, but RBS and Barclays were in the red.

Investors put their concerns about North Korea to one side last week following events in Washington and terrorist attacks in Spain, but with the US and South Korea holding military exercises this week, renewed jitters were expected to set in.

Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said: "While there's not a lot of economic news to work with this Monday, there is still the continuation of some key macro-issues for investors to process. For example, though the tensions between the US and North Korea have faded into the background due to the domestic crisis engulfing Donal Trump's presidency, the start of military exercises between America and South Korea could spark a return to the kind of market-dragging nuclear rhetoric seen a few weeks ago."

After the close of European markets on Friday, it emerged that US President Trump had fired chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Accendo Markets analyst Henry Croft said: "The divisive political operator was oft seen as the leader of nationalist sentiment within President Trump's cabinet, with many hoping his departure will usher in a fresh urgency to pass pro-business reforms through Congress."

Investors are also likely to be cautious ahead of the US Federal Reserve's annual symposium at Jackson Hole, which kicks off on Thursday.

Back in the UK, Rightmove said overnight that house prices fell 0.9% in August, marking their biggest month-on-month decline of the year. On an annual basis, prices ticked up 3.1% compared to a 2.8% increase the month before. Meanwhile, the average house price fell to 313,663 from 317,421 in July.

In corporate news, Rathbone Brothers edged higher after confirming that it was in merger talks with stockbroker Smith & Williamson.

Wood Group nudged up as it announced the award of a five-year, multimillion dollar contract by Phillips 66 to provide supplemental maintenance services and support for small capital construction projects and turnarounds to the Sweeny Refinery, approximately 65 miles southwest of Houston.

TBC Bank was in the black after posting a rise in interim profit, but real estate investment trust Shaftesbury slipped after saying it has entered into a contract with PMB Holdings to acquire a long-leasehold interest in 90-104 Berwick Street, London W1, at 38.5m.

Hikma Pharmaceuticals was boosted by an upgrade to 'hold' from 'underperform' at Jefferies, while British Land lost ground as HSBC cut the stock to 'hold' from 'buy'.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,313.81 -0.14%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,618.68 -0.04%
techMARK (TASX) 3,358.09 -0.31%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,469.50p 1.17%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,366.50p 1.15%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,291.50p 0.90%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 2,191.00p 0.78%
Glencore (GLEN) 346.05p 0.76%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 950.00p 0.69%
Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 422.50p 0.48%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 754.70p 0.44%
Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 386.40p 0.34%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 613.50p 0.33%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 254.20p -1.28%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 4,405.50p -0.93%
Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) 7,115.00p -0.91%
British Land Company (BLND) 605.50p -0.90%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 264.50p -0.86%
Ferguson (FERG) 4,541.00p -0.85%
Barclays (BARC) 194.00p -0.84%
St James's Place (STJ) 1,180.00p -0.76%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 293.30p -0.74%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 314.80p -0.73%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Carillion (CLLN) 52.65p 4.05%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 156.70p 2.89%
FDM Group (Holdings) (FDM) 944.50p 2.55%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 351.60p 2.51%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 281.30p 2.33%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 1,143.00p 2.14%
Sirius Minerals (SXX) 28.27p 2.06%
Nostrum Oil & Gas (NOG) 401.40p 1.88%
Kaz Minerals (KAZ) 727.00p 1.54%
St. Modwen Properties (SMP) 349.90p 1.45%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Acacia Mining (ACA) 190.10p -2.16%
Redefine International (RDI) 38.17p -2.10%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 685.00p -1.23%
Hill & Smith Holdings (HILS) 1,326.00p -1.19%
Workspace Group (WKP) 872.00p -1.02%
Assura (AGR) 63.75p -1.01%
Evraz (EVR) 256.50p -1.00%
SIG (SHI) 175.40p -0.96%
Balfour Beatty (BBY) 270.90p -0.95%
TP ICAP (TCAP) 464.70p -0.92%
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