London midday: Stocks little changed as Truss clings on
London stocks had pared earlier losses by midday on Thursday amid political chaos, as No 10 confirmed that prime minister Liz Truss was meeting Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs.
The FTSE 100 was down just 0.1% at 6,917.71, while sterling was flat against the dollar at 1.1219, as it emerged Truss was meeting with Brady amid calls for her to quit, although no reason for the meeting was given. The 1922 Committee oversees the election of Conservative leaders.
On Wednesday, Suella Braverman resigned as home secretary, having breached ministerial rules after sending an official document from her personal email account. On her way, she took a swipe at the government, accusing it of breaking "key pledges" and failing to reduce immigration.
There was further turmoil during a vote on fracking, after opposition MPs said some Conservatives had been bullied and manhandled into voting with the government.
Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com, said: "If it looks like a coup and smells like a coup, then surely it is a coup, right? Chairman Hunt is in charge, if anyone could be said to be in control of this unholy mess. Surely an election is coming? Or is Rishi the anointed one? Electoral wipeout seems the only way this ends for the Tory party.
"I said on the day of the Budget that it could lead to the fall of the government; I had no idea it would lead to such an earthquake in the Conservative Party, which could split Peel-style. As I said yesterday, don’t rule out a Lazarus-like comeback for Boris - the only one who can save probably 50-100 Tory seats."
In equity markets, housebuilder Berkeley Group was under the cosh after a downgrade to ‘hold’ at Deutsche Bank. The bank said in a note that the housing market is in a state of flux. Mortgage rates have tripled, loans are less available and future re-financings will be painful, it said.
Dechra Pharmaceuticals fell as it said it remained on course to meet full-year expectations, despite a slower start to the year.
Homewares retailer Dunelm was weaker after it reported a fall in first-quarter sales and maintained annual guidance despite a challenging macroeconomic environment.
On the upside, polymer maker Synthomer surged after saying it had agreed a relaxation of loan covenants with its banks to provide it increased headroom through to the end of next year.
Luxury fashion brand Burberry ticked up following well-received results from French peer Hermes.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Harbour Energy (HBR) 385.80p 3.77%
Convatec Group (CTEC) 216.60p 2.36%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 41.53p 2.27%
Shell (SHEL) 2,320.50p 2.09%
BP (BP.) 462.45p 1.58%
Centrica (CNA) 70.82p 1.35%
Haleon (HLN) 270.30p 1.25%
Fresnillo (FRES) 695.00p 1.25%
BAE Systems (BA.) 819.40p 1.21%
SEGRO (SGRO) 724.00p 1.20%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 114.00p -3.47%
Dechra Pharmaceuticals (DPH) 2,526.00p -3.14%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) 7,276.00p -2.47%
BT Group (BT.A) 124.60p -2.43%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 98.74p -2.39%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 72.24p -2.38%
Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 969.80p -2.14%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 9,603.00p -2.10%
Anglo American (AAL) 2,575.50p -2.07%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 4,637.50p -2.02%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Synthomer (SYNT) 99.40p 6.20%
Network International Holdings (NETW) 321.00p 5.45%
Jupiter Fund Management (JUP) 92.50p 4.82%
Syncona Limited NPV (SYNC) 172.60p 4.61%
W.A.G Payment Solutions (WPS) 83.40p 4.25%
Darktrace (DARK) 349.80p 3.95%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 86.04p 3.66%
Bluefield Solar Income Fund Limited (BSIF) 125.50p 3.29%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 38.70p 3.26%
HarbourVest Global Private Equity Limited A Shs (HVPE) 2,230.00p 3.24%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
NCC Group (NCC) 199.80p -5.75%
Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 1,442.50p -4.12%
ITV (ITV) 65.10p -3.81%
Liontrust Asset Management (LIO) 789.00p -3.19%
easyJet (EZJ) 318.30p -3.11%
ASOS (ASC) 533.50p -3.00%
WH Smith (SMWH) 1,171.00p -2.78%
Domino's Pizza Group (DOM) 226.00p -2.75%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 784.00p -2.67%
Future (FUTR) 1,266.00p -2.54%