London midday: Stocks edge lower in quiet trade; BAE Systems bucks trend

Mon 20 Jan 2020

LONDON (SHARECAST) - (Sharecast News) - London stocks had edged lower by midday on Monday, with trade expected to remain fairly quiet as US markets will be closed for Martin Luther King Jr day.
The FTSE 100 was down 0.4% at 7,642.20, while sterling was 0.2% lower against the dollar at 1.2995.

CMC Markets analyst David Madden said:"Stocks were in a strong position last week so a bit of a pullback isn't a high surprise. Trading volumes as well as volatility are likely to be low as it is a public holiday in the US. Whenever the US market is closed, the trading session in Europe tends to be quiet.

"On Friday the FTSE 100 hit its highest level since July, and the DAX isn't too far from its all-time- high, so later this week when activity picks up again, we might see the wider bullish sentiment continue."

Oil prices surged earlier on news that two large crude production bases in Libya had begun shutting down following a military blockade. However, prices were off highs by midday, with West Texas Intermediate up 0.5% at $58.87 a barrel and Brent crude 0.7% higher at $65.28.

Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at, said: "This is coinciding with disruptions to production in Iraq. We can expect both countries to provide ongoing supply uncertainty but these are relatively mild and likely to be shorter duration outages. I don't think we are seeing a major disruption - certainly any spare capacity can simply be absorbed by other OPEC members gladly pumping a little more to compensate. And the global oil market just isn't as exposed to shocks as it once was."

On home turf, investors were mulling the latest survey from Rightmove, which showed that asking prices for UK houses rose at their fastest pace on record for the month in January, with sentiment boosted by the outcome of the general election.

House prices were up 2.3% on the month, marking the largest price rise recorded at this time of the year since the Rightmove house price survey began in 2002. Prices had fallen 0.9% in December. This pushed the annual rate of increase to 2.7%, which is the highest level since July 2017. Prices had risen 0.8% the month before.

Rightmove director and housing market analyst Miles Shipside said: "These statistics seem to indicate that many buyers and sellers feel that the election result gives a window of stability. The housing market dislikes uncertainty, and the unsettled political outlook over the last three and a half years since the EU referendum caused some potential home-movers to hesitate.

"There now seems to be a release of this pent-up demand, which suggests we are in store for an active spring market."

In equity markets, UAE healthcare operator NMC Health was the worst performer on the top-flight index, having rallied late last week after it announced that it had appointed a former FBI director to carry out an investigation into allegations of wrongdoing by US short-seller Muddy Waters.

Outsourcer Capita was under the cosh after a downgrade to 'sell' at UBS. In addition, over the weekend, the Telegraph reported that it was planning the 200m sale of a clutch of businesses including translation services and events management.

On the upside, housebuilders Berkeley, Barratt Developments, Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey were all higher after the Rightmove data.

BAE Systems rallied to the top of the FTSE 100 after announcing the acquisition of Collins Aerospace's Military Global Positioning System business for $1.925bn (1.48bn) and Raytheon's Airborne Tactical Radios business for $275m.

Auto Trader was boosted by an upgrade to 'buy' at Goldman Sachs and to 'add' at Peel Hunt.

Sirius Minerals was on the rise after it agreed to be bought by Anglo American for 5.5p a share in cash, in a deal that values the fertiliser maker at 404.9m. Anglo shares were a touch lower.

Medical products maker Convatec was knocked lower by a downgrade to 'underweight' at JPMorgan, while WPP was hit by a downgrade to 'neutral' at Goldman Sachs.

Outside the FTSE 350, shares of posh tonics maker Fevertree tumbled after it said full-year revenue was set to miss the company's expectations after "subdued" Christmas trading, with earnings expected to fall 5% from 2018.

Shopping centre owner Intu Properties was weaker after confirming that it is looking to raise extra cash to bolster its balance sheet. Responding to press speculation over the weekend, the company said it is planning an equity raise alongside its full year results at the end of February. The statement followed an article in the Sunday Times suggesting that Intu was looking to raise 1bn in emergency funding.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,642.20 -0.42%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 21,850.17 -0.16%
techMARK (TASX) 4,263.43 -0.20%

FTSE 100 - Risers

BAE Systems (BA.) 643.60p 3.04%
Evraz (EVR) 426.80p 1.91%
Auto Trader Group (AUTO) 584.00p 1.85%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 812.20p 1.60%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 5,106.00p 1.31%
Persimmon (PSN) 2,924.00p 1.14%
Pearson (PSON) 594.80p 1.05%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 900.40p 0.99%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 301.30p 0.70%
Flutter Entertainment (FLTR) 9,126.00p 0.66%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

NMC Health (NMC) 1,494.00p -4.08%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 2,281.00p -2.06%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 659.40p -1.73%
BT Group (BT.A) 181.14p -1.62%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 6,113.00p -1.58%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,419.50p -1.36%
Aveva Group (AVV) 4,990.00p -1.29%
Glencore (GLEN) 240.15p -1.25%
Schroders (SDR) 3,256.00p -1.24%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 972.00p -1.22%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Vesuvius (VSVS) 467.00p 2.64%
Britvic (BVIC) 897.50p 2.63%
Sirius Minerals (SXX) 5.52p 2.22%
QinetiQ Group (QQ.) 370.60p 2.09%
Contour Global (GLO) 203.50p 1.75%
Redrow (RDW) 787.00p 1.68%
Hastings Group Holdings (HSTG) 180.30p 1.63%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 399.40p 1.58%
PZ Cussons (PZC) 203.00p 1.50%
Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 1,696.00p 1.50%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Capita (CPI) 167.15p -3.02%
Convatec Group (CTEC) 206.40p -3.01%
Just Group (JUST) 70.95p -2.61%
Hammerson (HMSO) 258.70p -2.41%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 1,107.60p -2.16%
PureTech Health (PRTC) 288.00p -2.04%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 443.10p -1.97%
Kainos Group (KNOS) 808.00p -1.94%
Hyve Group (HYVE) 106.00p -1.85%
Apax Global Alpha Limited (APAX) 166.00p -1.78%
Archived Stories

01 Apr London midday: Stocks fall further after manufacturing data; banks slide
31 Mar London midday: Stocks up but off highs; Imperial Brands surges
30 Mar London midday: Stocks maintain losses but BP, Shell buck trend
27 Mar London midday: Stocks fall further; Boris Johnson tests positive for Covid-19
26 Mar London midday: Stocks in the red ahead of BoE, US jobless claims