London open: Stocks muted amid trade deal concerns, ahead of inflation data
London stocks were little changed in early trade on Wednesday as investors eyed the signing of the 'phase one' Sino-US trade deal and the release of key UK inflation figures.
At 0830 GMT, the FTSE 100 was up 0.1% at 7,627.46.
Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said: "Steven Mnuchin’s confirmation that tariffs on $360bn of Chinese goods will ‘stay in place until there is a Phase 2’ helped sour the atmosphere. That’s because the chances of a ‘phase 2’ agreement ever actually materialising feel rather slim given how tortuous the process was to reach the comparatively simple ‘phase one’ deal."
His comments followed a Bloomberg report late on Tuesday suggesting that existing tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese goods coming into the US were likely to remain in place until after the US presidential election. Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg said any move to reduce the tariffs will hinge on Beijing’s compliance with the terms of the phase one deal.
Bloomberg said the two sides have an understanding that no sooner than 10 months after the signing of the agreement at the White House on Wednesday, the US will review progress and potentially consider additional cuts on tariffs affecting $360bn of imports from China.
On home shores, investors were awaiting the release of consumer price, retail price and producer price inflation, all due at 0930 GMT.
In equity markets, Hargreaves Lansdown was the biggest riser after an initiation at ‘hold’ by Berenberg, while Royal Bank of Scotland suffered the heaviest losses after a downgrade to ‘underweight’ at Barclays.
Persimmon was in the green even as the housebuilder reported a fall in full-year revenue as it spent more cash fixing poor quality homes after an independent review last month slammed the standards of the company's work.
Provident Financial gained ground as the doorstep lender said profits for 2019 were set to meet market expectations following a solid performance from Vanquis Bank in the fourth quarter.
Diploma fell despite saying it traded in line in the first quarter and backing its expectations for the full year, while Tullow Oil gusher lower after saying it expects to report a $1.5bn writedown after cutting its long-term oil price assumptions.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,834.00p 1.21%
NMC Health (NMC) 1,400.00p 1.08%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 6,207.00p 1.04%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 461.20p 0.99%
Experian (EXPN) 2,623.00p 0.96%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 7,765.00p 0.96%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 2,290.00p 0.84%
Compass Group (CPG) 1,972.00p 0.82%
Diageo (DGE) 3,253.50p 0.70%
Unilever (ULVR) 4,349.50p 0.69%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 223.80p -2.99%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,611.50p -1.13%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,494.00p -0.99%
Prudential (PRU) 1,440.50p -0.93%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 5,840.00p -0.88%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 641.40p -0.83%
Kingfisher (KGF) 216.70p -0.82%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 58.31p -0.75%
British Land Company (BLND) 581.00p -0.72%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 208.40p -0.71%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 170.50p 3.90%
Capita (CPI) 174.20p 2.47%
Provident Financial (PFG) 432.00p 2.39%
PZ Cussons (PZC) 208.00p 2.21%
PureTech Health (PRTC) 278.00p 2.21%
Safestore Holdings (SAFE) 775.00p 1.91%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 1,124.00p 1.35%
Fresnillo (FRES) 617.20p 1.35%
Hill & Smith Holdings (HILS) 1,473.00p 1.31%
Future (FUTR) 1,434.00p 1.27%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Diploma (DPLM) 1,837.00p -3.37%
CLS Holdings (CLI) 276.00p -2.65%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 57.62p -2.64%
GCP Infrastructure Investments Ltd (GCP) 129.80p -2.11%
888 Holdings (888) 150.70p -1.95%
Serco Group (SRP) 159.60p -1.91%
Pets at Home Group (PETS) 268.00p -1.83%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 451.80p -1.83%
Fisher (James) & Sons (FSJ) 1,956.00p -1.81%
Playtech (PTEC) 383.50p -1.72%