London open: Stocks edge lower as consumer confidence slumps
London stocks edged lower in early trade on Friday amid ongoing concerns about Chinese property developer Evergrande and after a survey showed that UK consumer confidence slumped in September.
At 0830 BST, the FTSE 100 was down 0.3% at 7,059.28, with investors none the wiser as to whether Evergrande has met its latest interest payment.
Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, said: "There has been no update on the coupon payment which fell due yesterday, but increasingly there are some hopes that any default would have limited contagion outside of China, due to its lesser links with the global system."
On home shores, the latest survey from GfK showed that consumer confidence slid in September as concerns about rising food and energy prices mount. The GfK consumer confidence index fell five points from August to -13.
All the individual measures used to compile the widely-followed index declined. The forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months lost six points to 5, while expectations for the general economic situation in the coming year lost 10 points to -16 and the major purchase index was down three points at -6.
The savings index was down three points to 22.
GfK attributed the decline to growing anxiety about rises in the cost of living.
Joe Staton, client strategy director, said: "On the back of concerns about rising prices for fuel and food, the growth in headline inflation, tax hikes, empty shelves and the end of the furlough scheme, September sees consumers slamming on the brakes as those already in economic hardship anticipate a potential cost of living crisis.
"When consumer confidence drops, shoppers tend to spend less and this dampens the overall economic prospects for the UK. This really is an unwelcome picture going into 2022 and beyond."
In equity markets, AstraZeneca was the standout gainer on the FTSE 100 after saying that its Lynparza drug met the primary endpoint in a trial for the treatment of prostate cancer.
Mitie Group rallied after the facilities management company lifted annual profit guidance after a strong second quarter, boosted by the award of more Covid-19-related contracts.
The group, which provides services from cleaning to security, said it expected operating profit before other items to be between £145m and £155m, despite an expected slowdown in revenue from pandemic work.
FTSE 100 - Risers
AstraZeneca (AZN) 8,941.00p 3.15%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 127.98p 0.82%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RKT) 5,866.00p 0.62%
Halma (HLMA) 3,155.00p 0.57%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 2,374.00p 0.38%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 292.10p 0.34%
Fresnillo (FRES) 785.00p 0.33%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,409.00p 0.32%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,339.00p 0.26%
Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 1,454.50p 0.24%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 1,097.00p -2.83%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 169.04p -1.85%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 427.30p -1.54%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 684.20p -1.44%
Prudential (PRU) 1,371.50p -1.33%
Evraz (EVR) 575.80p -1.27%
Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 2,133.00p -1.25%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 4,498.00p -1.21%
BHP Group (BHP) 1,869.60p -1.17%
NATWEST GROUP PLC ORD 100P (NWG) 214.80p -1.15%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Pantheon International (PIN) 3,035.00p 3.58%
Mitie Group (MTO) 73.20p 3.24%
BH Macro Ltd. GBP Shares (BHMG) 3,640.00p 2.54%
LondonMetric Property (LMP) 255.40p 2.32%
Greencore Group (CDI) (GNC) 142.20p 1.57%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 91.00p 1.13%
Edinburgh Worldwide Inv Trust (EWI) 330.50p 1.07%
Virgin Money UK (VMUK) 206.50p 1.03%
Petropavlovsk (POG) 21.02p 0.96%
888 Holdings (888) 460.40p 0.92%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
PureTech Health (PRTC) 347.50p -3.47%
Trustpilot Group (TRST) 334.40p -3.30%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 312.60p -2.62%
JTC (JTC) 747.00p -2.35%
Moonpig Group (MOON) 356.00p -2.31%
Harbour Energy (HBR) 351.60p -1.95%
Morgan Sindall Group (MGNS) 2,555.00p -1.73%
Spire Healthcare Group (SPI) 229.50p -1.71%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 185.25p -1.65%
Ashmore Group (ASHM) 342.20p -1.55%