London midday: Stocks extend losses amid inflation woes
London stocks were firmly in the red by midday on Wednesday as investors continued to fret about surging inflation and an economic slowdown.
The FTSE 100 was down 1.2% at 7,272.50, having extended earlier losses.
Oanda market analyst Craig Erlam said: "Stock markets in Europe turned lower again on Wednesday while US futures are more mixed, similar to what we saw in Asia overnight. Conditions remain choppy in the aftermath of Jackson Hole last week.
"There's clearly a lack of conviction in the markets following a lot of hawkish central bank commentary in recent days. The narrative that investors want to believe is that inflation has peaked and is falling in the US and that a soft landing is plausible. That doesn't necessarily align with what we're hearing.
"Add to that the increasingly hawkish language from other central banks amid severe economic headwinds and the reality of the situation is seemingly becoming impossible to ignore. With 75 basis point hikes now on the table for the US, EU and UK next month, among others, it may not be entirely surprising that investors are taking a more cautious stance."
Erlam also argued that the latest eurozone inflation data released earlier "won't have hurt the odds of a 75-basis point hike, that's for sure". Inflation in the bloc rose to a fresh record of 9.1% in August, from 8.9% in July.
On home shores, figures by the British Retail Consortium and NielsenIQ showed that shop price inflation hit a new high in August as the war in Ukraine pushed up the cost of food.
Shop price inflation jumped to 5.1% from 4.1% in July, marking a new record for the measure since the index started in 2005.
Meanwhile, fresh food price inflation rose to 10.5% in August from 8% a month earlier, hitting its highest level since the global financial crisis in September 2008.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: "Mounting cost pressures up and down supply chains meant shop price inflation hit a new high in August. The war in Ukraine, and consequent rise in the price of animal feed, fertiliser, wheat and vegetable oils continued to push up food prices. Fresh food inflation in particular, surged to its highest level since 2008, and products such as milk, margarine and crisps saw the biggest rises.
"The rise in shop prices is playing into wider UK inflation, which some analysts are predicting could top 18% in 2023. The situation is bleak for both consumers and retailers, but retail businesses will remain committed to supporting their customers through offering discounts to vulnerable groups, expanding value ranges, fixing prices of essentials, and raising staff pay. However, as retailers also grapple with growing cost pressures, there is only so much they can shoulder."
In equity markets, Shell, BP and Tullow Oil gushed lower as oil prices fell.
On the upside, WH Smith was the standout gainer on the FTSE 250 as Berenberg encouraged investors to "revisit the story" ahead of its trading update next week, "given the company's defensive growth profile and its limited exposure to cost inflation".
Outside the FTSE 350, Shoe Zone rallied after it upgraded its full-year profit guidance, highlighting strong demand.
Cake Box shares tumbled, however, after the cream cakes retailer warned on profits, citing a "significantly more challenging" trading environment.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Ocado Group (OCDO) 741.80p 3.03%
Smurfit Kappa Group (CDI) (SKG) 2,914.00p 1.53%
Pearson (PSON) 873.60p 1.46%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,478.50p 1.20%
Imperial Brands (IMB) 1,900.00p 1.17%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 113.50p 1.07%
Rightmove (RMV) 609.40p 0.96%
Fresnillo (FRES) 696.60p 0.78%
Kingfisher (KGF) 234.50p 0.77%
Phoenix Group Holdings (PHNX) 601.80p 0.74%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
National Grid (NG.) 1,077.00p -4.22%
Shell (SHEL) 2,260.00p -3.40%
BP (BP.) 434.65p -3.25%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 10,624.00p -3.15%
Centrica (CNA) 74.44p -2.77%
SSE (SSE) 1,667.50p -2.54%
BAE Systems (BA.) 774.80p -1.92%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 821.00p -1.89%
DCC (CDI) (DCC) 4,953.00p -1.77%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 1,515.00p -1.72%
FTSE 250 - Risers
WH Smith (SMWH) 1,447.50p 3.39%
Polymetal International (POLY) 214.90p 2.33%
4Imprint Group (FOUR) 3,815.00p 1.87%
Trainline (TRN) 343.80p 1.42%
Big Yellow Group (BYG) 1,342.00p 1.36%
ITV (ITV) 63.94p 1.17%
JPMorgan Emerging Markets Inv Trust (JMG) 108.40p 1.12%
The Renewables Infrastructure Group Limited (TRIG) 144.80p 1.12%
Carnival (CCL) 736.60p 0.99%
Virgin Money UK (VMUK) 149.30p 0.98%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Tullow Oil (TLW) 48.40p -6.56%
Drax Group (DRX) 635.50p -5.22%
Energean (ENOG) 1,287.00p -4.81%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 428.80p -3.64%
LondonMetric Property (LMP) 217.40p -3.55%
Capricorn Energy (CNE) 230.40p -3.36%
Jupiter Fund Management (JUP) 96.35p -3.26%
Provident Financial (PFG) 167.10p -3.13%
ASOS (ASC) 696.50p -2.93%
Tritax Big Box Reit (BBOX) 167.20p -2.90%