London midday: Stocks drift lower with China still in focus
London stocks edged lower on Thursday as investors continued to fret about surging Covid cases in China and Beijing’s decision to lift travel bans.
The FTSE 100 index was 0.21% lower to 7,481.09 and the second-tier index down by 0.37% to 18,815.38.
"Most FTSE 100 stocks are in the red with only a handful of names including Homeserve and United Utilities in the green as risk-off sentiment grips global markets as we head towards the end of the year," said Interactive Investor head of Investment Victoria Scholar.
Markets in Asia came under pressure overnight with Hong Kong's Hang Seng down more than 1% amid concerns about the impact of covid on demand in China. This is also dragging oil prices into the red with brent crude down by almost 1%.”
US officials overnight joined other countries in demanding negative Covid tests from all travellers arriving from mainland China. Britain, which failed to move quickly enough more than two years ago to impose restrictions, once again said it had no plans to require negative tests.
Beijing has announced a dismantling of its strict zero-Covid policy which had led to protests across the country over its impact on the economy. On Monday, the country said it would bring an end to mandatory quarantine on arrival, leading to a spike in travel plans by citizens.
Japan, Taiwan, Italy, Malaysia and South Korea have all announced to deal with an expected influx of travellers from China.
Officials in Washington expressed concerns over virus-related data released by the Chinese government.
With the New Year holiday approaching there was understandably a dearth of major corporate news.
The only development of note was the detention on France of Ferrexpo owner Kostyantin Zhevago at the request of Ukrainian authorities over matters related to on suspicion of money laundering and embezzling funds linked to his banking business.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,481.26 -0.21%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 18,815.06 -0.37%
techMARK (TASX) 4,383.64 -0.23%
FTSE 100 - Risers
Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 698.00p 1.16%
Beazley (BEZ) 684.50p 0.96%
Entain (ENT) 1,317.00p 0.61%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 133.50p 0.60%
Pershing Square Holdings Ltd NPV (PSH) 2,895.00p 0.52%
Airtel Africa (AAF) 111.50p 0.45%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 5,841.00p 0.40%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 11,290.00p 0.36%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 631.40p 0.35%
Prudential (PRU) 1,126.50p 0.27%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 123.98p -1.77%
Frasers Group (FRAS) 709.50p -1.60%
BT Group (BT.A) 113.60p -1.39%
Whitbread (WTB) 2,587.00p -1.33%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,565.50p -1.32%
B&M European Value Retail S.A. (DI) (BME) 405.10p -1.24%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 847.20p -1.24%
Spirax-Sarco Engineering (SPX) 10,630.00p -1.21%
Unite Group (UTG) 900.00p -1.10%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,244.50p -1.07%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Apax Global Alpha Limited (APAX) 188.60p 2.39%
Abrdn Private Equity Opportunities Trust (APEO) 445.00p 2.30%
Helios Towers (HTWS) 103.10p 2.28%
TI Fluid Systems (TIFS) 131.80p 1.85%
TBC Bank Group (TBCG) 2,265.00p 1.80%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 136.95p 1.67%
HarbourVest Global Private Equity Limited A Shs (HVPE) 2,240.00p 1.36%
Darktrace (DARK) 259.00p 1.25%
RIT Capital Partners (RCP) 2,120.00p 1.19%
Moonpig Group (MOON) 109.70p 1.11%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 69.00p -3.97%
ASOS (ASC) 488.20p -3.13%
Currys (CURY) 54.25p -2.95%
easyJet (EZJ) 323.40p -2.82%
Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 1,950.50p -2.45%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 426.00p -2.38%
Schroder Asia Pacific Fund (SDP) 499.00p -2.35%
PZ Cussons (PZC) 211.50p -2.31%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 161.00p -2.13%
C&C Group (CDI) (CCR) 177.70p -1.99%