London midday: Housing stocks lead markets lower
- Markets pull back from one-month high
- Crimea unrest dampens risk appetite
- Housing stocks provide a drag
techMARK 2,748.24 -0.80%
FTSE 100 6,652.02 -0.65%
FTSE 250 16,327.20 -0.65%
UK stocks were firmly lower on Monday morning, pulling back after hitting a one-month high, as markets tracked a heavy sell-off on Wall Street the previous session and losses in Asia overnight.
Investors were still digesting Friday’s slightly worse-than-expected US employment report, which showed that non-farm payrolls rose by 192,000 in March. While upwards revisions were made to previous months' data, the headline figure missed the 200,000 forecast.
The falls on equity markets, in the US in particular, were attributed to weakness among the bull market's best performers as investors rotated out of so-called 'momentum' stocks.
The FTSE 100 was trading 0.65% lower at 6,652 by midday, retreating after rising to 6,695.55 by end of last week, closing at a level not seen since March 7th.
However, it had bounced slightly off its intraday low of 6,638.77 this morning, “indicating that, for the moment at least, the ‘buy the dip’ crowd are awake and at their posts”, said Market Analyst Chris Beauchamp from IG.
“The losses have been broad-based in London, but for the moment it seems to be the immediate knee-jerk reaction to Friday’s poor finish in the US rather than the start of a sustained move,” he said.
Nevertheless, markets across Europe were also declining today, with the STOXX Europe 600 benchmark index retreating from its highest in six years, as risk appetite was dampened by reports of unrest in Ukraine.
A Ukraine naval officer has been shot dead by a Russian solider in eastern Crimea, according to Ukraine’s defence ministry. The news came as Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk accused Russia of provoking unrest in his country’s eastern region as an excuse to send troops across the border.
CRH gains, housing stocks fall
Irish building materials group CRH was making small gains this morning following news that its two European rivals Lafarge and Holcim are to merge, creating a cement-making company with combined annual sales of €32bn.
Housebuilders Barratt Developments, Persimmon, Countrywide and Berkeley Group, however, were all trading in the red after a report by HomeOwners' Alliance raised concerns with the rapid rise in house prices across the UK. The group said that more people now think house prices are a “very serious issue”. Rightmove was also trading with heavy losses today.
High end luxury brand Burberry was lower after Berenberg analysts downgraded their rating on the stock to ‘hold’ and cut their target price from 1,660p to 1,500p.
Supermarket giant Tesco was trading more or less flat, pausing after its recent falls, following the announcement late on Friday that its Chief Financial Officer Laurie McIlwee would step down. Sector peer WM Morrison was making decent gains this morning.
Engineering group Kentz rose after winning a large follow-on contract for work on a major liquid natural gas facility in Australia. The electrical and instrumentation construction contract is worth A$615 (£344m) over a duration of 30 months, with work beginning in August.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 207.00p +1.07%
Centrica (CNA) 331.00p +0.76%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,574.50p +0.61%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 94.60p +0.48%
CRH (CRH) 1,783.00p +0.45%
SSE (SSE) 1,481.00p +0.41%
BG Group (BG.) 1,137.00p +0.09%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 800.50p +0.06%
Bunzl (BNZL) 1,620.00p +0.06%
Compass Group (CPG) 916.50p +0.05%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 395.40p -3.54%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,395.00p -2.86%
GKN (GKN) 396.30p -2.41%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,057.00p -2.40%
St James's Place (STJ) 826.00p -2.19%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 974.50p -2.16%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,317.00p -2.15%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 964.00p -1.93%
Barclays (BARC) 243.55p -1.85%
Wolseley (WOS) 3,467.00p -1.81%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 2,665.00p +2.94%
Kentz Corporation Ltd. (KENZ) 776.00p +2.51%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 153.80p +2.06%
Soco International (SIA) 404.00p +1.97%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 54.30p +1.69%
Ted Baker (TED) 2,193.00p +1.62%
Savills (SVS) 665.00p +1.45%
Lancashire Holdings Limited (LRE) 672.50p +1.36%
IP Group (IPO) 211.70p +1.29%
Hansteen Holdings (HSTN) 110.80p +1.19%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Rightmove (RMV) 2,433.00p -4.78%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 205.60p -4.24%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 434.30p -3.96%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 2,493.00p -3.41%
ITE Group (ITE) 197.20p -3.33%
Synergy Health (SYR) 1,388.00p -2.94%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 115.20p -2.37%
Dixons Retail (DXNS) 48.10p -2.24%
Telecity Group (TCY) 684.50p -2.21%
Halfords Group (HFD) 469.00p -2.17%