London midday: Stocks still in red as Korea-US tensions and housebuilders weigh

Wed 06 Sep 2017

LONDON (SHARECAST) - (ShareCast News) - London stocks were holding on to losses by midday on Wednesday amid jitters about the tension between North Korea and the US, as well as disappointment about the housebuilding sector.
The FTSE 100 was down 0.6% to 7,326.70, while the pound was up 0.1% against the greenback at 1.3045 and flat versus the euro at 1.0937.

After its hydrogen bomb test on Sunday, North Korea threatened to send "more gift packages" to the US if it continues to put pressure on the regime.

IG analyst Joshua Mahony said: "Global stock markets appear to be in a period of nervous uncertainty, as the threat of another North Korean test looms large over any investors wishing to invest in risky assets. The clear indecision evident throughout the Asian session has translated into a morning of downside for European indices, with the FTSE, DAX and CAC all trading in the red.

"Unfortunately with Trump focusing on the DACA scheme, it feels unlikely that we will hear any market positive announcements from leftfield, leaving the risk skewed towards the downside given the potential for another North Korea 'gift'."

London's blue chip index also saw a drag from the housing sector, with Barratt Developments dropping nearly 4% despite posting record annual profit, better than forecast revenue and a 39% hike to its dividend.

The company's shares had climbed 30% since the start of the year while the prospect of only "modest growth" in the next financial year was another reason for the shares' correction.

Barratt wasn't the only housebuilder in the red, with Berkeley Group also lower as it reported in-line trading but warned that uncertainty around Brexit, stamp duty and mortgage interest deductibility continued to weigh on the London market.

But retirement housebuilder McCarthy & Stone saw its shares advance as it said it saw a "strong" recovery in the second half of the year, with revenue and the order book up on the previous year despite uncertainty brought about by Brexit and the general election.

Pharmaceuticals group Vectura tumbled after first-half operating loss widened to 41.3m from 24.1m the previous year.

EasyJet reversed earlier gains to fly lower despite reporting a 9.4% jump in passenger numbers in August.

On the upside, Micro Focus racked up impressive gains following the release of third-quarter results for its recently merged software arm, HPE Software, where margins have strengthened.

Petrofac rallied after saying it has been awarded a contract worth more than $700m by Sakhalin Energy Investment Company for its onshore processing facility on Sakhalin Island.

Sports Direct pushed higher as it reiterated its full-year guidance, expressed optimism over its outlook and confirmed that it now owns 100% of Flannels.

Amec Foster gained after it was awarded a $604m engineering, procurement and construction fixed price contract for part of a $1.85bn methanol plant being developed by Yuhuang Chemical, a US-based subsidiary of China's Shandong Yuhuang Chemical Company.

FTSE 250 network security solutions provider Sophos rose as it lifted its full-year billings guidance.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,326.70 -0.63%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,608.23 -0.60%
techMARK (TASX) 3,407.54 -0.61%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Micro Focus International (MCRO) 2,367.00p 7.25%
ITV (ITV) 158.20p 1.28%
Babcock International Group (BAB) 824.00p 0.98%
Next (NXT) 4,307.00p 0.94%
Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) 7,160.00p 0.70%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 4,802.50p 0.54%
Sky (SKY) 956.00p 0.53%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,053.00p 0.48%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 246.00p 0.45%
Glencore (GLEN) 364.15p 0.32%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Barratt Developments (BDEV) 600.00p -3.85%
G4S (GFS) 277.70p -2.32%
BAE Systems (BA.) 597.00p -2.21%
Provident Financial (PFG) 783.00p -2.13%
Ferguson (FERG) 4,516.00p -1.89%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 741.10p -1.84%
WPP (WPP) 1,385.00p -1.70%
Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 369.00p -1.68%
Mediclinic International (MDC) 743.50p -1.65%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 195.60p -1.61%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 432.10p 5.11%
McCarthy & Stone (MCS) 164.60p 2.62%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 392.90p 2.26%
Diploma (DPLM) 1,116.00p 1.92%
Halfords Group (HFD) 328.50p 1.61%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 331.80p 1.50%
Renishaw (RSW) 4,697.00p 1.45%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 255.10p 1.43%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 887.00p 1.43%
Acacia Mining (ACA) 191.40p 1.38%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Vectura Group (VEC) 98.00p -10.17%
Beazley (BEZ) 463.40p -4.98%
Evraz (EVR) 316.40p -4.12%
Morgan Advanced Materials (MGAM) 286.50p -3.54%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 3,639.00p -3.01%
Safestore Holdings (SAFE) 410.50p -2.96%
CLS Holdings (CLI) 212.70p -2.65%
Serco Group (SRP) 113.80p -2.32%
Spire Healthcare Group (SPI) 315.20p -2.29%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 173.20p -2.15%
Archived Stories

15 Jun London midday: Stocks turn lower as trade war fears resurface
14 Jun London midday: Stocks maintain losses as miners, stronger pound weigh
13 Jun London midday: Stocks turn up as pound slips further on inflation data
12 Jun London midday: Housebuilders weigh as stocks drop into the red
11 Jun London midday: Stocks extend gains as pound slumps on disappointing data