FTSE 100 movers: Housebuilders gain but downgrade weighs on Centrica
London's FTSE 100 was down 0.2% to 7,077.70 in afternoon trade on Friday amid fresh concerns about Sino-US trade relations.
Travel operator Tui was on the back foot again a day after its shares tanked as it cut its earnings outlook on the back of warm weather and a weak pound.
Centrica was under the cosh as it suffered its second downgrade this week. The British Gas owner was cut 'neutral' from 'buy' at Citi.
"In our view, Centrica shares are already fully reflecting the challenging retail market and pricing in a probable dividend cut with its 9% dividend yield," Citi said.
However, it argued that unless the company is able to revitalise its current strategy by delivering growth in some of its new business lines or to curb the level of churn in retail or to improve the commodity output, there is little reason for investors to own the shares.
Earlier this week, RBC Capital Markets downgraded Centrica to 'underperform' from 'outperform', saying it expects a dividend cut and that the shares are still expensive relative to peers despite recent underperformance.
Artificial hip and knee maker Smith & Nephew retreated as Exane BNP Paribas cut the stock to 'neutral' from 'outperform".
Going the other way, Ocado was making some gains following several days of heavy losses after a large fire broke out at its high-tech warehouse in Andover earlier in the week.
Housebuilders were on the up, with Barratt, Berkeley and Persimmon all higher as the National Audit Office put out a report saying that targets for new homes are likely to be missed by half of England’s local authorities. Barratt was also boosted by a report from Citi that said the stock still offers "multiple attractions of profitable growth".
Luxury fashion brand Burberry boosted by a solid set of results from French peer Hermes, which posted record sales for 2018 and said sales momentum in China remained strong in the fourth quarter.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Ocado Group (OCDO) 896.60p 2.61%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 562.00p 1.63%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 532.20p 1.37%
Sage Group (SGE) 642.74p 1.28%
ITV (ITV) 130.80p 1.28%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 3,804.00p 1.22%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 5,924.00p 1.07%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,865.00p 1.06%
Persimmon (PSN) 2,403.00p 1.05%
Rightmove (RMV) 469.90p 0.86%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Melrose Industries (MRO) 157.45p -4.55%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,651.00p -3.17%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 924.80p -3.12%
Centrica (CNA) 135.45p -2.59%
Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) 245.70p -2.07%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,518.00p -1.75%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 499.40p -1.42%
Tesco (TSCO) 224.60p -1.40%
GVC Holdings (GVC) 648.00p -1.37%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 2,609.00p -1.21%