London open: Stocks edge lower ahead of busy week; Tesco rallies
London stocks edged lower in early trade on Monday ahead of what was set to be a busy week, with rate decisions from the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, the UK general election and the Sino-US trade deadline all due.
At 0830 GMT, the FTSE 100 was down 0.2% at 7,223.66.
Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said: "It is a potentially huge week for the markets - not only because of the UK election, but due to the looming trade deadline this Sunday.
"Not that you’d necessarily know that following Monday’s open. The markets were relatively timid at the start of the session, which is forgivable considering what is at stake."
In currency markets, the pound was up 0.2% against the dollar at 1.3163 and 0.1% firmer versus the euro at 1.1897, boosted by the latest poll from Survation, which showed the Tories with a 14-point lead.
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.
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 50% as it announced the departure of its chief executive officer, scrapped its dividend and cut production guidance.
Rightmove was the worst performer on the FTSE 100 after Jefferies reinstated coverage of the stock at ‘underperform’. 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".
Engineering group Senior rallied as it confirmed it was considering a sale of its aerostructure unit after recent speculation.
Just Eat ticked higher after Prosus sweetened its offer for the online food delivery firm to £5.1bn from £4.9bn.
Elsewhere, Marks & Spencer was boosted by an upgrade to ‘buy’ at Goldman Sachs.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Tesco (TSCO) 242.70p 4.48%
Fresnillo (FRES) 563.00p 1.37%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 223.00p 1.36%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 4,256.00p 0.94%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 203.20p 0.74%
NMC Health (NMC) 2,548.00p 0.71%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 904.00p 0.60%
Just Eat (JE.) 781.40p 0.57%
Anglo American (AAL) 2,078.50p 0.51%
Next (NXT) 6,908.00p 0.49%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Rightmove (RMV) 618.80p -1.81%
Croda International (CRDA) 4,832.00p -1.51%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 965.60p -1.27%
Bunzl (BNZL) 2,103.00p -1.22%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,644.00p -1.17%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 366.10p -1.05%
Hiscox Limited (DI) (HSX) 1,350.00p -1.03%
Prudential (PRU) 1,307.50p -0.87%
Diageo (DGE) 3,073.50p -0.87%
Compass Group (CPG) 1,838.50p -0.84%
FTSE 250 - Risers
McCarthy & Stone (MCS) 143.80p 2.71%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 205.80p 2.29%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 143.90p 2.20%
Kaz Minerals (KAZ) 490.20p 1.87%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 120.55p 1.69%
Senior (SNR) 181.00p 1.69%
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 1,564.00p 1.56%
Galliford Try (GFRD) 766.00p 1.52%
Watches of Switzerland Group (WOSG) 324.80p 1.50%
PayPoint (PAY) 994.00p 1.43%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Tullow Oil (TLW) 73.02p -48.36%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 604.40p -4.06%
Premier Oil (PMO) 92.04p -2.54%
Future (FUTR) 1,368.00p -2.01%
Quilter (QLT) 148.05p -1.89%
Sirius Minerals (SXX) 3.50p -1.63%
SSP Group (SSPG) 652.00p -1.51%
Countryside Properties (CSP) 428.80p -1.47%
Convatec Group (CTEC) 189.55p -1.43%
Spectris (SXS) 2,754.00p -1.33%