London open: Shares dip as M&S and Tesco fail to impress
London stocks dipped in early trade on Thursday as investors waded through a deluge of corporate news, with retailers in focus after updates from Marks & Spencer and Tesco failed to impress.
At 0855 GMT, the FTSE 100 was down 0.1% at 7,541.11.
Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor, said: "Markets are setting themselves up for a down day after a lacklustre start to the European open. The FTSE 100 is still managing to hold above critical support at 7,500 after closing at the highest level since January 2020 while GBPUSD is extending recent gains, closing in on key resistance at $1.38. Supercharged US inflation figures dampened risk appetite, resulting in a mixed picture overnight in Asia and softer trade across Europe.
"A slew of trading statements from Tesco, M&S, Persimmon and ASOS are spurring UK price action on Thursday while attention soon shifts to US earnings season which kicks off with the banks tomorrow."
In equity markets, supermarket chain Tesco was in the red despite lifting annual profits guidance after better-than-expected third-quarter and Christmas sales.
Marks & Spencer fell even as the food and clothing retailer said it now expects annual profits of at least £500m after strong Christmas sales driven by outperformance in its food range. Fellow retailer Next was also in the red.
Countryside Properties tumbled as it announced the departure of its chief executive and said first-quarter trading had been below the board’s expectations.
Persimmon lost ground despite posting a jump in revenues, with peers Barratt, Taylor Wimpey and Berkeley also lower.
On the upside, Dechra advanced after the veterinary pharmaceuticals company said the full-year outlook was towards the upper end of management expectations as it reported a jump in first-half revenues.
Wood Group surged to the top of the FTSE 250 as the consulting and engineering company said it was selling its built environment division after a review and reported a fall in core profit.
Hays rallied after the recruiter said full-year operating profit was set to come in ahead of markets expectations following a record second-quarter quarter.
Shares of pub group Mitchells & Butlers fizzed higher after a well-received trading update.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Dechra Pharmaceuticals (DPH) 4,534.00p 1.57%
Fresnillo (FRES) 848.80p 1.46%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 290.90p 1.01%
Prudential (PRU) 1,311.50p 0.96%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 1,538.50p 0.75%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 2,945.00p 0.75%
Imperial Brands (IMB) 1,673.00p 0.72%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,370.50p 0.70%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 170.15p 0.68%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 503.60p 0.60%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Next (NXT) 7,722.00p -3.50%
Persimmon (PSN) 2,544.00p -2.94%
Tesco (TSCO) 286.15p -2.09%
Sage Group (SGE) 804.20p -1.90%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 674.80p -1.49%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 159.65p -1.33%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,261.00p -1.29%
SSE (SSE) 1,589.50p -1.27%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 209.30p -1.04%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 4,518.00p -0.96%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 225.10p 13.00%
IP Group (IPO) 114.20p 4.01%
Baillie Gifford US Growth Trust (USA) 274.50p 2.04%
Ninety One (N91) 266.20p 1.99%
Mediclinic International (MDC) 328.20p 1.67%
Hays (HAS) 154.30p 1.58%
Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 299.20p 1.42%
Edinburgh Worldwide Inv Trust (EWI) 256.00p 1.39%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 1,427.00p 1.28%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 929.00p 1.25%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Countryside Properties (CSP) 345.20p -16.17%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 241.70p -4.47%
JPMorgan Japanese Inv Trust (JFJ) 603.00p -2.43%
Dr. Martens (DOCS) 338.40p -2.14%
Volution Group (FAN) 504.00p -1.95%
Indivior (INDV) 226.00p -1.74%
Redrow (RDW) 633.60p -1.68%
Grafton Group Ut (CDI) (GFTU) 1,191.00p -1.65%
Howden Joinery Group (HWDN) 886.40p -1.51%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 446.20p -1.48%