London midday: Stocks edge lower as ex-divs weigh
London’s top flight index had edged lower by midday on Thursday, with ex-dividend stocks proving to be a drag.
The FTSE 100 was down 0.3% at 7,485.90, failing to hold on to small opening gains despite a strong finish on Wall Street after a softer-than-expected inflation print assuaged fears about aggressive tightening from the Federal Reserve.
Oanda analyst Craig Erlam said: "Positive surprises have been hard to come by on the inflation front this year and yesterday's report was very much welcomed with open arms. While we shouldn't get too carried away by the data, with headline inflation still running at 8.5% and core 5.9%, it's certainly a start and one we've waited a long time for.
"Fed policymakers remain keen to stress that the tightening cycle is far from done and a policy U-turn early next year is highly unlikely. Once again, the markets are at odds with the Fed's assessment on the outlook for interest rates but this time in such a way that could undermine its efforts so you can understand their concerns.
"I expect we'll continue to see policymakers unsuccessfully push back against market expectations in the coming weeks while further driving home the message that data dependency works both ways. That said, the inflation report has further fuelled the optimism already apparent in the markets and could set the tone for the rest of the summer."
On the macroeconomic front, investors will eye the US producer price index for July and initial jobless claims, both due at 1330 BST.
In equity markets, Rio Tinto, Segro, Ashtead, Barclays, AstraZeneca, Jupiter Fund Management, Direct Line and Hiscox all lost ground as they traded without entitlement to the dividend.,
Elsewhere, miner Antofagasta fell after it reported lower interim profits due to a volatile copper price, a drought in Chile and concentrate pipeline problems at its Los Pelambres operation.
Real estate advisor Savills slumped after it backed its full-year expectations as it posted a jump in first-half revenues but a drop in profits.
Drax tumbled after UK business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the company’s imports of US-made wood pellets to be burnt for energy wasn’t sustainable. According to The Financial Times, Kwarteng said it "doesn’t make sense" and told MPs that the government had not fully investigated the sustainability of burning wood pellets, a type of biomass.
On the upside, Network International shot higher as it reported surge in interim profit and revenue.
Ladbrokes owner Entain rallied after it announced a new drive to expand in Central & Eastern Europe and the acquisition of a Croatian sportsbook operator, as it posted a rise in first-half net gaming revenue.
Coca-Cola HBC fizzed higher after it reported half-year net sales of €4.21bn, beating market expectations of €3.98bn.
OSB also gained as it posted a 16% increase in interim underlying pre-tax profit to a record £294.1m.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Entain (ENT) 1,399.50p 6.95%
Harbour Energy (HBR) 384.20p 6.72%
Aveva Group (AVV) 2,450.00p 3.16%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 2,040.00p 2.98%
Flutter Entertainment (CDI) (FLTR) 9,330.00p 1.90%
St James's Place (STJ) 1,265.00p 1.65%
Fresnillo (FRES) 750.80p 1.54%
M&G (MNG) 221.00p 1.52%
Shell (SHEL) 2,200.50p 1.43%
Anglo American (AAL) 2,996.00p 1.32%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
GSK (GSK) 1,449.00p -6.91%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 4,804.50p -3.97%
Airtel Africa (AAF) 147.70p -3.72%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 1,566.00p -2.79%
B&M European Value Retail S.A. (DI) (BME) 416.60p -1.91%
Unite Group (UTG) 1,149.00p -1.88%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 4,601.00p -1.83%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,855.00p -1.80%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 721.40p -1.74%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 124.80p -1.65%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Network International Holdings (NETW) 220.60p 10.19%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 528.80p 5.76%
OSB Group (OSB) 574.50p 4.93%
888 Holdings (DI) (888) 158.80p 4.13%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 83.30p 4.06%
XP Power Ltd. (DI) (XPP) 2,320.00p 3.34%
Liontrust Asset Management (LIO) 1,064.00p 3.30%
HGCapital Trust (HGT) 400.50p 2.96%
Energean (ENOG) 1,251.00p 2.71%
Capricorn Energy (CNE) 231.40p 2.66%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Savills (SVS) 1,025.00p -8.81%
Jupiter Fund Management (JUP) 121.40p -5.96%
Drax Group (DRX) 705.00p -4.21%
FirstGroup (FGP) 130.60p -3.04%
Auction Technology Group (ATG) 950.00p -2.76%
Man Group (EMG) 250.30p -2.61%
Home Reit (HOME) 120.00p -2.60%
Target Healthcare Reit Ltd (THRL) 114.40p -2.39%
Just Group (JUST) 75.20p -2.27%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 940.40p -2.25%