London midday: Travel & leisure, mining stocks pace the decline
London stocks were still firmly in the red by midday on Friday, having taken their cue from a weak session in Asia, with miners and travel shares under the cosh.
The FTSE 100 was down 0.9% at 7,014.78.
AJ Bell financial analyst Danni Hewson said: "It’s looking like a soggy end to July both in meteorological terms and with the markets as so-so numbers from Amazon and a sell-off in Asia linked to Covid concerns had a dampening effect on sentiment.
"Disappointing results from highly rated testing specialist Intertek and International Consolidated Airlines as well as a downbeat reaction to NatWest’s latest numbers did little to lift the mood.
"The mining sector also slumped and investors continued to fret about the Chinese crackdown on its technology sector, despite Beijing’s efforts to dial back some of its recent rhetoric. There was talk about targeted rather than broad-based action."
In equity markets, inspection, product testing and certification group Intertek was the worst performer on the top-flight index despite reporting a rise in half-year profits.
British Airways and Iberia parent IAG flew lower as it posted a narrowing of its first-half operating losses and said capacity was set to grow, but struck a cautious note on the outlook due to Covid uncertainty.
The travel and leisure sector more generally was weaker, with Premier Inn owner Whitbread, InterContinental Hotels, Tui, easyJet and Carnival all trading lower.
Miners were under pressure, with Rio, Glencore and Anglo all down. Glencore fell despite lifting its 2021 EBIT expectations to the top end of its guidance.
NatWest lost ground even as it resumed dividend payments, announced a share buyback and said it swung to a half-year profit.
Babcock tumbled after the defence company said full-year losses widened as it was hit by a £2bn impairment charge.
On the upside, education publisher Pearson was the top gainer on the FTSE 100 after reporting better-than-expected first-half profit and underlying sales as demand for online learning increased.
Telecoms group BT was also in the black, having slumped a day earlier after a first-quarter update.
Property portal Rightmove was higher after it reported a jump in interim pre-tax profit and revenue amid strong demand from househunters.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Pearson (PSON) 880.00p 4.29%
BT Group (BT.A) 174.95p 1.77%
Rightmove (RMV) 692.20p 1.76%
Sage Group (SGE) 701.60p 1.30%
SEGRO (SGRO) 1,208.50p 1.13%
Unilever (ULVR) 4,136.50p 0.72%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 2,634.00p 0.46%
Croda International (CRDA) 8,310.00p 0.44%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,564.00p 0.42%
Avast (AVST) 574.40p 0.38%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Intertek Group (ITRK) 5,214.00p -6.96%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 169.88p -6.47%
Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 2,178.00p -3.33%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 99.06p -3.05%
Compass Group (CPG) 1,509.00p -2.86%
Whitbread (WTB) 3,033.00p -2.85%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 6,107.00p -2.85%
Glencore (GLEN) 320.20p -2.81%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 159.45p -2.80%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 4,690.00p -2.49%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Airtel Africa (AAF) 86.00p 2.81%
VinaCapital Vietnam Opportunity Fund Ltd. (VOF) 461.50p 2.10%
Sirius Real Estate Ltd. (SRE) 120.00p 2.04%
NCC Group (NCC) 318.50p 1.92%
Indivior (INDV) 161.50p 1.89%
Just Group (JUST) 104.00p 1.86%
PZ Cussons (PZC) 252.00p 1.82%
Syncona Limited NPV (SYNC) 210.00p 1.69%
Vietnam Enterprise Investments (DI) (VEIL) 669.00p 1.67%
Computacenter (CCC) 2,712.00p 1.65%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Babcock International Group (BAB) 269.40p -11.59%
Jupiter Fund Management (JUP) 267.80p -7.53%
Convatec Group (CTEC) 239.20p -7.18%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 335.00p -4.88%
easyJet (EZJ) 839.40p -4.79%
Carnival (CCL) 1,450.00p -4.08%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 1,120.00p -3.86%
SSP Group (SSPG) 259.60p -3.71%
Drax Group (DRX) 404.80p -3.62%
Trainline (TRN) 332.20p -3.26%