London open: Stocks fall as investors eye Trump's latest move, ex-dividends weigh
London stocks fell in early trade on Thursday as investors digested news that US President Trump has declared a national emergency to protect US computer networks from "foreign adversaries" - a move widely seen as targeting China’s Huawei.
At 0835 BST, the FTSE 100 was 0.3% lower at 7,276.32, while the pound was down 0.2% against the dollar and the euro at 1.2823 and 1.1444, respectively.
CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said Trump’s latest decision paves the way for a ban on China’s biggest telecoms provider.
"This executive order appears to have curbed some of the exuberance of the late rebound in stocks yesterday with Asia markets reacting much more cautiously," he said.
"While the suspension of auto tariffs is welcome it certainly doesn’t mean that President Trump can’t create ripples in other ways, and this is reflected in the more mixed reaction amongst Asia markets."
In UK equity markets, ex-dividends took their toll, with Tesco, GlaxoSmithKline, HSBC, Intertek, Royal Dutch Shell, Ascential, Balfour Beatty, Civitas Social, Clarkson, Hochschild Mining, Inchcape, PageGroup, Renewables Infrastructure, Saga, Ted Baker, UK Commercial Property REIT and Vivo Energy all in the frame.
Elsewhere, Burberry under the cosh as it said underlying profit was unchanged last year as cost cuts offset a decline in revenue at the luxury clothing brand. Adjusted operating profit for the year to the end of March fell 6% to £438m but excluding currency movements profit was flat. Revenue at constant exchange rates fell 1% to £2.72bn and operating costs fell 1% to £1.42bn.
Just Group was also in the red as it reported a 55% drop in first-quarter new business sales as retirement income slumped and the pension provider said it was planning to shut its loss-making US operations.
Lloyds Bank nudged a touch lower after saying it would start to pay quarterly dividends to its 2.4m shareholders from June 2020.
On the upside, miners were on the front foot, with BHP, Rio Tinto and Anglo American all higher.
Spirax-Sarco was the standout gainer on the FTSE 100 after an initiation at ‘buy’’ at Berenberg while Sophos surged to the top of the 250 as the cyber security company reported an 87% jump in operating profit for the year to the end of March.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Spirax-Sarco Engineering (SPX) 8,670.00p 1.70%
BHP Group (BHP) 1,779.20p 1.67%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 4,576.00p 1.25%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,937.80p 1.24%
Evraz (EVR) 585.20p 1.14%
ITV (ITV) 114.18p 0.91%
Sage Group (SGE) 721.80p 0.75%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 2,816.00p 0.75%
Halma (HLMA) 1,792.50p 0.73%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 2,356.00p 0.55%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,858.50p -3.28%
Tesco (TSCO) 239.30p -1.81%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 1,258.00p -1.49%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 5,054.00p -1.37%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 655.90p -1.12%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 2,492.50p -1.05%
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 2,499.50p -1.05%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 812.60p -0.85%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 1,813.40p -0.82%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,521.80p -0.80%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Sophos Group (SOPH) 384.30p 13.03%
Indivior (INDV) 57.16p 8.34%
GVC Holdings (GVC) 625.00p 5.33%
Premier Oil (PMO) 94.79p 4.90%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 164.10p 3.47%
Bakkavor Group (BAKK) 129.80p 3.02%
Funding Circle Holdings (FCH) 253.26p 2.74%
Hill & Smith Holdings (HILS) 1,277.00p 2.08%
Hunting (HTG) 568.00p 1.88%
Metro Bank (MTRO) 594.78p 1.85%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Just Group (JUST) 59.60p -8.17%
CYBG (CYBG) 188.85p -4.40%
Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 1,372.00p -2.83%
Inchcape (INCH) 576.50p -2.78%
Saga (SAGA) 54.75p -1.88%
TI Fluid Systems (TIFS) 189.80p -1.86%
Royal Mail (RMG) 235.30p -1.51%
The Renewables Infrastructure Group Limited (TRIG) 123.80p -1.43%
Pagegroup (PAGE) 512.50p -1.06%
Balfour Beatty (BBY) 244.40p -1.05%