London midday: Stocks flat as risk-off mood prevails; Provident Financial slumps

Mon 21 Aug 2017

LONDON (SHARECAST) - (ShareCast News) - London stocks had pared earlier small losses to trade flat by midday as investors remained cautious amid geopolitical tensions.
The FTSE 100 was steady at 7,325.06, while the pound was up 0.2% versus the dollar at 1.2890.

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

IG analyst David Madden said: "Tensions between the US and North Korea are still simmering away in the background. The two nations are locked in a stalemate, and this week we will see the US and South Korea engage in their 10-day military exercises. The annual exercise always angers the North Korean regime, this time the stakes are higher given the current environment."

Market participants were also keeping an eye on developments across the pond after US President Trump fired divisive chief strategist Steve Bannon on Friday and 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% from 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 exclusive merger talks with stockbroker Smith & Williamson, while TBC Bank was in the black after posting a rise in interim profit.

Hikma Pharmaceuticals was boosted by an upgrade to 'hold' from 'underperform' at Jefferies.

On the downside, Provident Financial was the biggest faller on the FTSE following an article in the Sunday Times suggesting that some of the city's most powerful hedge funds have built up significant short positions in the subprime lender amid speculation it is set to issue another profit warning and cut its dividend.

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, while British Land lost ground as HSBC cut the stock to 'hold' from 'buy'.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,325.06 0.01%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,648.20 0.11%
techMARK (TASX) 3,367.20 -0.04%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Micro Focus International (MCRO) 2,227.00p 2.44%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 957.00p 1.43%
Persimmon (PSN) 2,554.00p 1.31%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,990.00p 1.27%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 660.00p 1.23%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 618.50p 1.14%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 194.90p 1.09%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,466.00p 1.06%
Diageo (DGE) 2,571.50p 0.86%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,291.00p 0.86%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Provident Financial (PFG) 1,791.00p -3.29%
Tesco (TSCO) 174.55p -1.13%
Informa (INF) 690.00p -1.00%
Centrica (CNA) 199.70p -0.94%
Barclays (BARC) 193.90p -0.89%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 235.10p -0.84%
British Land Company (BLND) 606.00p -0.82%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 255.50p -0.78%
Royal Mail (RMG) 389.80p -0.61%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 293.70p -0.61%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 1,162.00p 3.84%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 282.50p 2.76%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 156.20p 2.56%
Kaz Minerals (KAZ) 733.00p 2.37%
NMC Health (NMC) 2,384.00p 2.32%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 427.10p 2.30%
TBC Bank Group (TBCG) 1,591.00p 1.99%
Redrow (RDW) 598.50p 1.87%
Dairy Crest Group (DCG) 583.00p 1.83%
St. Modwen Properties (SMP) 351.00p 1.77%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Acacia Mining (ACA) 188.90p -2.78%
Pets at Home Group (PETS) 184.90p -1.86%
Mitie Group (MTO) 267.20p -1.69%
National Express Group (NEX) 356.80p -1.57%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 683.00p -1.51%
Balfour Beatty (BBY) 269.50p -1.46%
Vectura Group (VEC) 108.60p -1.45%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,464.00p -1.28%
Just Eat (JE.) 627.50p -1.18%
SIG (SHI) 175.10p -1.13%
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