London midday: Stocks firmly in the red ahead of US jobless claims
London stocks were firmly in the red by midday on Thursday, with ex-dividends weighing heavily as hopes of further US stimulus faded and a trade dispute between the US and Europe dented sentiment.
The FTSE 100 was down 1.1% at 6,210.04.
The mood was downbeat after the US government said it would maintain 15% tariffs on Airbus aircraft and 25% tariffs on other European goods. Trade relations between the US and China were also in focus, with officials from both countries set to meet on Saturday for a review of their deal.
Meanwhile, hopes of an agreement between US Democrats and Republicans over further stimulus were dashed after President Donald Trump said it was "not going to happen".
Investors were also wary ahead of the release of the latest US initial jobless claims at 1330 BST.
In equity markets, ex-dividend stocks were a drag, with Phoenix Group, Legal & General, Ashtead, Pearson, Shell, BP, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Diageo, Aviva, Smurfit Kappa, Direct Line and Centamin all in the frame.
Bus operator National Express fell sharply as it said it swung to a half-year loss after the coronavirus lockdown led to an 80% slump in passenger traffic.
FTSE 250 engineering company Renishaw slid as it posted a drop in full-year profit as revenue fell amid "very challenging economic conditions".
Travel company TUI was in the red after it plunged to a €1.1bn third-quarter loss as its business shut down under coronavirus lockdowns and bookings fell through the floor.
On the upside, Just Eat got a boost after JPMorgan Cazenove said the stock remains its ‘top pick’ in the space.
Watches of Switzerland rallied after it said first-quarter trading was ahead of expectations as the luxury watch retailer reported a 6.2% increase in annual profit.
Elsewhere, Just Group was trading up after well-received results.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Spirax-Sarco Engineering (SPX) 11,075.00p 2.93%
Persimmon (PSN) 2,525.00p 2.39%
M&G (MNG) 184.70p 1.82%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 583.20p 1.64%
British Land Company (BLND) 379.10p 1.45%
Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 9,126.00p 1.42%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 121.48p 1.40%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 2,327.00p 1.17%
Flutter Entertainment (FLTR) 12,110.00p 1.00%
Bunzl (BNZL) 2,435.00p 0.74%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
ITV (ITV) 63.44p -3.91%
Phoenix Group Holdings (PHNX) 693.40p -3.88%
Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 2,684.00p -3.45%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 426.70p -2.69%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 230.70p -2.62%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,570.80p -2.53%
Aviva (AV.) 296.10p -2.50%
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 1,174.60p -2.47%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,913.80p -2.47%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 1,219.00p -2.46%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Watches of Switzerland Group (WOSG) 311.50p 18.89%
Just Group (JUST) 55.80p 9.63%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 191.40p 6.24%
Capital & Counties Properties (CAPC) 134.20p 4.84%
Domino's Pizza Group (DOM) 354.80p 3.99%
Shaftesbury (SHB) 547.00p 3.70%
Rank Group (RNK) 141.40p 3.06%
Essentra (ESNT) 316.60p 2.93%
John Laing Group (JLG) 298.20p 2.83%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 147.80p 2.64%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
National Express Group (NEX) 153.30p -12.90%
Renishaw (RSW) 4,758.00p -10.06%
Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 314.10p -7.35%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 343.10p -6.59%
4Imprint Group (FOUR) 2,260.00p -6.22%
Coats Group (COA) 58.80p -5.16%
WH Smith (SMWH) 1,020.00p -3.95%
Capita (CPI) 38.10p -3.76%
Softcat (SCT) 1,365.00p -3.74%
Balfour Beatty (BBY) 248.40p -3.57%