London midday: Stocks maintain losses; Tullow Oil tumbles
London stocks were still slightly lower by midday on Monday, with Tullow Oil under the cosh after a disappointing update, as investors eyed a busy week that includes rate decisions from the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, the UK general election and the Sino-US trade deadline.
The FTSE 100 was down 0.2% at 7,226.65 while the pound was up 0.2% against the dollar at 1.3165 and 0.1% firmer versus the euro at 1.1887, boosted by the latest poll from Survation, which showed the Tories with a 14-point lead.
Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said that while the moves in sterling were "meagre", it was enough to send cable to a fresh seven-month high of $1.3170 and put the currency at a 31-month high against the euro.
IG market analyst Joshua Mahony said: "There is a degree of de ja vu about this current predicament, with markets relying on pollsters’ data despite their poor record and the potential for tactical voting. A jump in registrations from the younger age demographic signals a likely sway that hasn't been captured, with the end result likely to be much closer than many are currently predicting.
"Nevertheless, market sentiment follows the polls, with a conservative victory expected to go hand-in-hand with a surge for the pound."
On the trade front, China’s assistant commerce minister Ren Hongbin said at a press briefing in Beijing that China wants to reach an agreement that "satisfies all sides as soon as possible". His comments come ahead of the 15 December deadline which will see the US impose tariffs on another $156bn of Chinese goods.
In equity markets, Tullow Oil shares tumbled more than 60% as it announced the departure of its chief executive officer, scrapped its dividend and cut production guidance.
Croda was knocked lower by a downgrade to ‘equalweight’ at Barclays. Convatec was in the red after a downgrade to ‘sector perform’ at RBC Capital Markets and Bodycote was hit by a downgrade to ‘underweight’ at JPMorgan.
On the upside, Tesco racked up strong gains as it confirmed that it was considering a sale of its businesses in Thailand and Malaysia after "inbound interest".
Just Eat ticked higher after Prosus sweetened its offer for the online food delivery firm to £5.1bn from £4.9bn.
Engineering group Senior rallied as it confirmed it was considering a sale of its aerostructure unit after recent speculation.
Elsewhere, Marks & Spencer was boosted by an upgrade to ‘buy’ at Goldman Sachs.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Tesco (TSCO) 244.30p 5.17%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 232.00p 1.75%
Ferguson (FERG) 6,748.00p 1.23%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 62.20p 1.19%
Next (NXT) 6,952.00p 1.13%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 4,261.50p 1.07%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 203.70p 0.99%
Kingfisher (KGF) 214.70p 0.94%
Barclays (BARC) 170.92p 0.90%
Anglo American (AAL) 2,086.00p 0.87%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Phoenix Group Holdings (PHNX) 715.40p -3.43%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 226.90p -2.11%
Aveva Group (AVV) 4,488.00p -1.84%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 963.80p -1.45%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 1,203.00p -1.39%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 1,887.50p -1.38%
Prudential (PRU) 1,301.50p -1.33%
Bunzl (BNZL) 2,101.00p -1.32%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 5,408.00p -1.10%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 435.60p -1.09%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Senior (SNR) 189.50p 6.46%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 123.90p 4.51%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 209.40p 4.08%
Drax Group (DRX) 299.80p 3.67%
Plus500 Ltd (DI) (PLUS) 843.20p 3.08%
Energean Oil & Gas (ENOG) 935.00p 2.75%
Dixons Carphone (DC.) 130.95p 2.26%
Vivo Energy (VVO) 118.00p 2.25%
OneSavings Bank (OSB) 407.20p 2.21%
Equiniti Group (EQN) 199.30p 1.74%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Tullow Oil (TLW) 55.70p -60.61%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 591.80p -6.06%
Premier Oil (PMO) 88.90p -5.87%
Future (FUTR) 1,344.00p -3.72%
888 Holdings (888) 151.40p -3.63%
Sirius Minerals (SXX) 3.43p -3.54%
Playtech (PTEC) 376.00p -2.72%
Network International Holdings (NETW) 578.00p -2.53%
Convatec Group (CTEC) 187.55p -2.47%
Avast (AVST) 433.00p -2.30%