London midday: Stocks edge lower amid China-US tensions; BP in the black
London stocks were a little lower by midday on Tuesday amid tensions between the US and China, but BP was a bright spot after well-received second-quarter results.
The FTSE 100 was down 0.2% at 7,398.90.
Oanda market analyst Craig Erlam said:"We're seeing more risk aversion on Tuesday as Nancy Pelosi's trip to Taiwan generates numerous unsettling headlines at a time of strained ties between the US and China.
"US House Speaker Pelosi's proposed visit has been met with numerous threats from Beijing including an unspecified military response. They have continued this morning, hours ahead of the apparent arrival which is clearly making investors very nervous."
In equity markets, housebuilders Taylor Wimpey, Barratt Developments and Berkeley all fell after the latest data from Nationwide showed that UK house prices rose in July at the slowest monthly pace in a year as rising inflation and interest rates took their toll.
House prices grew just 0.1% following a 0.2% increase in June, missing expectations of 0.3% growth. On the year, prices rose 11% in July, up from 10.7% growth the month before, with the average price of a home standing at £271,209, versus £271,613.
Elsewhere, Fresnillo lost its shine after the precious metals miner posted a decline in interim profits mainly due to lower gold volumes sold and a drop in silver prices.
Synthomer lost ground after it reported a fall in interim pre-tax profit but struck a confident note on the outlook as it said all businesses had grown apart from the elastomers segment.
Travis Perkins was under the cosh after the DIY retailer said its Toolstation business swung to a loss in the first half as the pandemic boost faded.
Man Group and Domino’s were also in the red after half-year results.
On the upside, BP gushed higher after the oil giant said underlying cost replacement profit rose to $8.45bn in the second quarter from $6.25m in the first, coming in well ahead of analysts’ expectations of $6.8bn. This was driven by strong realised refining margins, a continuing "exceptional" oil trading performance and higher liquids realisations, BP said.
Elementis rallied as it said its full-year performance was set to be towards the top end of consensus expectations as it hailed good demand.
High Street bakery chain Greggs gained as it reported a 22.4% rise in like-for-like sales for the half-year as trading normalised after the lifting of Covid restrictions.
Biffa and Rotork were also trading higher after results.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Pearson (PSON) 880.00p 3.21%
BP (BP.) 403.50p 2.84%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,319.50p 2.77%
National Grid (NG.) 1,139.00p 1.79%
BAE Systems (BA.) 800.00p 1.65%
Severn Trent (SVT) 2,989.00p 1.29%
Imperial Brands (IMB) 1,834.00p 1.21%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,579.00p 1.02%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 1,107.50p 0.96%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 121.44p 0.78%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Fresnillo (FRES) 685.00p -5.93%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 813.80p -3.87%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 123.10p -3.83%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 487.50p -3.58%
Howden Joinery Group (HWDN) 656.80p -3.38%
Dechra Pharmaceuticals (DPH) 3,604.00p -3.12%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 4,165.00p -3.09%
Abrdn (ABDN) 160.90p -3.04%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 126.80p -3.02%
Whitbread (WTB) 2,538.00p -2.98%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Biffa (BIFF) 398.20p 10.37%
Elementis (ELM) 117.00p 6.85%
National Express Group (NEX) 188.80p 2.39%
Babcock International Group (BAB) 359.60p 2.33%
Greggs (GRG) 2,126.00p 2.31%
Rotork (ROR) 262.00p 1.55%
Polymetal International (POLY) 203.00p 1.50%
Baltic Classifieds Group (BCG) 162.00p 1.38%
Energean (ENOG) 1,152.00p 1.14%
Virgin Money UK (VMUK) 145.45p 1.08%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Synthomer (SYNT) 213.80p -9.02%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 950.80p -7.69%
XP Power Ltd. (DI) (XPP) 2,435.00p -5.98%
Chrysalis Investments Limited NPV (CHRY) 97.20p -5.08%
Watches of Switzerland Group (WOSG) 840.50p -4.71%
Currys (CURY) 65.20p -4.68%
Dr. Martens (DOCS) 245.00p -4.52%
ASOS (ASC) 992.00p -4.43%
Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 268.00p -4.42%
Ascential (ASCL) 236.20p -4.14%