(Alliance News) - European stock prices were in negative territory early on Tuesday, as the US "stimulus clock" continues to tick, leaving Wall Street ended firmly in the red on Monday.
In London, the FTSE 100 index was down 14.67 points, or 0.3%, at 5,869.98 early Tuesday.
The mid-cap FTSE 250 index was down 61.55 points, or 0.3%, at 17,804.53. The AIM All-Share index was down 0.1% at 973.92.
The Cboe UK 100 index was down 0.4% at 583.13. The Cboe 250 lost 0.3% at 15,037.67, and the Cboe Small Companies was down 0.2% at 9,376.93.
In mainland Europe, the CAC 40 index in Paris was down 0.3% and the DAX 30 in Frankfurt lost 0.2%.
The pound was quoted at USD1.2925 Tuesday morning in London, down from USD1.3000 at the London equities close on Monday.
The euro stood at USD1.1764 early Tuesday, down from USD1.1785 at the European equities close Monday.
"Wall Street ended lower as the stimulus clock ticked. News that there was still no agreement on fiscal stimulus unnerved investors. The negativity spilled over into Asia overnight and Europe is also set to start in the red," Gain Capital analyst Fiona Cincotta explained.
In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 closed 0.4% lower. Stocks in China had a late bounce, however. The SSE Composite in Shanghai closed 0.4% higher having been down 0.6% earlier in the session. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index inched marginally higher in late trade.
Cincotta continued: "The Tuesday deadline for a fiscal stimulus agreement between the Democrats and Republicans looks as if it could come and go without an agreement being reached. Whilst the two sides are narrowing their differences, differences still remain and the deadline is later today. The likelihood of a deal being achieved before the November 3rd election is slipping lower."
On the London Stock Exchange, Reckitt Benckiser said it is on track for "low double-digit like-for-like net revenue growth for the full year", as it continued to enjoy a boost in demand during the third-quarter.
Reckitt shares were up 1.4%, one of best blue-chip performers early Tuesday.
The household goods firm behind cleaning products such as Dettol and Cillit Bang, has seen demand for its disinfectants rise due to the new coronavirus pandemic.
In the third quarter, total sales climbed 6.3% to GBP3.51 billion, or 13% on a like-for-like basis. Total Hygiene sales alone were 12% higher, jumping 20% like-for-like. This was "driven by Finish and Air Wick", RB explained.
Health sales rose 6.9%, or 12% like-for-like, amid "ongoing strong demand for Dettol".
Elsewhere in the FTSE 100, miners were lower. Rio Tinto and Anglo American lost 1.0% and BHP fell 1.1%.
Early Tuesday in Australia, BHP post mixed first-quarter production figures but left guidance largely unchanged. Although at its Cerrejon asset, output guidance is under review due to an ongoing strike.
Among London mid-caps, Britvic was the best performer after the soft drinks maker landed a "20-year franchise bottling agreement" with PepsiCo. The stock was up 4.7%.
"Britvic today announces it has reached agreement with PepsiCo for a new and exclusive 20-year franchise bottling agreement for the production, distribution, marketing and sales of its carbonated soft drink brands - including Pepsi, 7UP and Mountain Dew - in Great Britain," the FTSE 250 firm explained.
The new pact extends the relationship between the two firms to 2040, having begun all the way back in 1987. The new deal also includes the Rockstar energy drinks brand, which Pepsi agreed to acquire to USD3.85 billion back in March.
Gamesys also was among one of the better FTSE 250 performers, up 1.7%. The gaming business said its third-quarter revenue jumped 31% annually to GBP190.0 million on a pro-forma basis. It third quarter topped expectations.
"Revenues in percentage terms increased by high double-digits in Asia and there was another very solid performance in the UK. In Europe, Spain continued to make progress and the US has maintained good momentum with healthy double-digit top line growth," Gamesys said.
At the other end of the mid-caps, Softcat shed 11%, after cutting its special payout.
Softcat raised its total ordinary dividend by 11% to 16.6 pence and proposed a special payout of 7.6p, though this is down 53% from a year earlier.
The IT infrastructure products and services firm's revenue climbed 8.6% to GBP1.08 billion in the 12 months ended July 31, with pretax profit rising 10% to GBP93.6 million.
Housebuilder Bellway fell 2.3% and said its revenue over the same 12-month period dropped by nearly a third, "significantly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic".
Revenue fell 31% to GBP2.23 billion and pretax profit was down 64% to GBP236.7 million.
Bellway noted its number of housing completions plunged 31% to 7,522 during a year which was hit by the Covid-19 lockdown that brought the housing sector to a halt.
Bellway resumed dividend payments, having skipped an interim payout, offering a 50.0 pence final dividend, down from 100.00p the year before. However, this left its full-year dividend down 67% to 50.0 pence per share from 150.4p, but the housebuilder promised to increase dividends over time as its earnings recover.
Promisingly, it has seen an "encouragingly strong start to trading in the new financial year", with house reservations up 31% to 239 per week.
Elsewhere among London mid-caps, Trainline fell 6.2% after it said Chief Executive Officer Clare Gilmartin will round off a seven-year stint in the post in February, though she will remain with the rail and coach booking platform as a senior advisor.
Chief Operating Officer Jody Ford will succeed her.
Against the yen, the dollar was trading at JPY105.51, firm from JPY105.45 late Monday.
The US is approaching the Tuesday deadline imposed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to reach a deal on a pre-election stimulus. US President Donald Trump had urged his Republican Party to offer more than the USD1.8 trillion they have put forward, adding that he would be willing to go higher than the Democrats' USD2.2 trillion proposal.
Florida voters converged on early polling stations in the US on Monday in a pivotal state fought over relentlessly by President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden, as their contentious White House race enters its final 15-day stretch.
Record numbers of Americans have already cast ballots in person or by mail â€“ 30 million, according to one tracker â€“ ahead of the November 3 election, as the rivals race from one swing state to another to marshal support.
With Biden dispatching his running mate Kamala Harris to Florida to rally voters there, Trump was on a western swing in battleground Arizona, where he won in 2016 but now narrowly trails his rival in statewide polling.
US futures are higher Tuesday morning, with stocks looking set to reverse some of Monday's losses.
Brent fetched at USD42.40 a barrel on Tuesday morning, down from USD42.92.
An ounce of gold was priced at USD1,901.86, down from USD1,908.70.
Still the come on Tuesday are eurozone current account figures at 0900 BST.
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