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London Stock Exchange
Share Price: 1,236.00
Bid: 1,239.50
Ask: 1,241.00
Change: 0.00 (0.00%)
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Open: 1,236.00
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LONDON MARKET CLOSE: FTSE 100 Slips Below 7,500 As Trade Fears Linger

Thu, 18th Jul 2019 17:06

(Alliance News) - Stocks in London ended in the red on Thursday, with the FTSE 100 slipping below the 7,500 mark, amid concerns about an uncertain global economic outlook and renewed disquiet surrounding the US-China trade war.The FTSE 100 ended 42.37 points lower, or 0.5%, at 7,493.09. The mid-cap FTSE 250 index closed down 79.07 points, or 0.4%, at 19,535.13, while the AIM All-Share closed down 7.91 points, or 0.9% at 910.75.The Cboe UK 100 index closed down 0.5% at 12,703.98. The Cboe UK 250 ended 0.3% lower at 17,432.82. The Cboe UK Small Companies ended down 0.3% at 11,118.62.In mainland Europe, the CAC 40 index in Paris and DAX 30 in Frankfurt closed down 0.3% and 0.8% respectively. "Stock markets in Europe were in the red as trade worries linger. The trading relationship between the US and China still has a long way to go, and dealers are a little nervous that tensions could flare up again. During the week, President Donald Trump issued a dig at China and warned that tariffs could be slapped on USD325 billion worth of goods," said CMC Markets analyst David Madden. In the FTSE 100, tobacco producers British American Tobacco and Imperial Brands ended the best performers, up 6.1% and 2.1% respectively, as demand for defensive stocks increased and from a positive read-across from US peer Philip Morris International. Vodafone ended up 0.7% after the telecommunications firm obtained approval from the European Commission for the acquisition of Liberty Global's operations in Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania.The acquisition is conditional on the implementation of an agreed remedy package, with the deal now expected to be completed by the end of July.The remedy package comprises of a cable wholesale agreement signed between Vodafone and Telefonica Deutschland in May, allowing the latter to offer broadband services on Vodafone's network in Germany.SSE closed up 1.0% after the 'Big Six' energy supplier reiterated its outlook for the 2020 financial year, despite lower-than-expected renewable energy output in the first three months of the financial period.The Scottish energy company reconfirmed its intention to recommend a dividend of 80 pence per share for the year ending March 31, 2020, in line with the company's five-year dividend plan set out in May 2018.In the FTSE 250, Ei Group ended the standout performer, up 38% at 285.00 pence after the company - formerly known as Enterprise Inns - agreed to a GBP1.3 billion takeover by Stonegate Pub Co.Stonegate, which owns the Slug & Lettuce chain and Walkabout pubs, will pay 285 pence per Ei share, a 39% premium to Ei's closing price in London on Wednesday of 205.8p. The deal values Ei at GBP1.27 billion, implying an enterprise value of GBP2.97 billion when including debt. Stonegate was set up in 2010, when it purchased 333 pubs from Mitchells & Butlers. It now owns over 765 outlets, compared to Ei, which has over 4,000 properties.easyJet ended up 4.0% after the budget airline said third quarter revenue rose year-on-year, partly due to the Easter period being in the second half of the current financial year.The carrier reported total revenue for the third quarter ended June 30 of GBP1.76 billion, an 11% year-on-year rise on 2018's GBP1.51 billion. easyJet said the later Easter in 2019, which generated almost GBP40.0 million extra, and an accounting change, which had a revenue benefit of GBP10.0 million, helped drive the third quarter growth. On AIM, ASOS closed down 20% after the online fashion retailer reduced its profit expectations for the financial year after warehouses issues affected sales in Europe and the US.Europe had a sales rise of 5% to GBP269.0 million from GBP257.4 million, while the US - though, like Europe, affected by operational issues - had a 12% rise to GBP121.4 million from GBP108.1 million. ASOS said the overhaul of its warehouse operations in Berlin, Germany and Atlanta in the US state of Georgia, due to be completed by the end of September, hindered sales in the two sales regions. Moreover, the transition to new technology at the sites is taking longer than expected, affecting stock availability, according to the company,As a result, ASOS reduced its expectations for the financial year. It now expects group sales growth in line with the year to date, which in the first ten months of its financial year ending August 31 grew 13%. ASOS now forecasts pretax profit between GBP30.0 and GBP35.0 million, a sharp fall on financial 2018's GBP102.0 million. The pound was quoted at USD1.2487 at the at the London equities close, higher than USD1.2435 at the close Wednesday. "Sterling was teed up for a rebound by the morning's UK retail sales reading. Though the previous month's figure was revised down, the number for June absolutely smashed expectations," said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell. UK retail sales growth accelerated in June, despite a decline in department stores, a report from the Office for National Statistics showed. June's retail sales rose 3.8% year-on-year, and increased 1.0% when compared to May. Excluding fuel, June's sales rose 3.6% year-on-year and 0.9% month-on-month. By comparison, May's year-on-year growth was 2.2%. On the year prior, all sectors posted growth save for department stores, and on May non-food stores provided the biggest contribution to growth. For the three months to June, retail sales rose 0.7%, but this was a slowdown from 1.6% growth recorded for the three months to May. "Helping cement the pound's (admittedly slight) comeback this afternoon was the success of an amendment in the House of Commons designed to further complicate any attempt by the next Prime Minister to prorogue Parliament in order to force through a no deal Brexit," added Spreadex's Campbell. UK Members of Parliament have defeated the government on an amendment which could thwart efforts by the next prime minister to force through a no-deal Brexit.The Commons backed the move by 315 votes to 274, majority 41, which could stop the next prime minister suspending Parliament in order to allow the UK to crash out of the EU.The vote came after the House of Lords strongly backed a bid to block Parliament being suspended in order to facilitate a no-deal exit by a margin of 103 votes on Wednesday.Frontrunner for the Tory leadership Boris Johnson again refused at the final campaign hustings on Wednesday to rule out proroguing Parliament in order to meet his red line of getting the UK out of the EU by October 31.The euro stood at USD1.1224 at the European equities close, unchanged from USD1.1224 late Wednesday. Stocks in New York were lower at the London equities close, with the DJIA down 0.3%, the S&P 500 index down 0.2% and the Nasdaq Composite down 0.4%.With an expected US Federal Reserve interest rate cut already priced in and few other catalysts to drive buying, investors were cashing out.Forex.com analyst Fawad Razaqzada highlighted that worries about the global economy has been offset so far by central banks indicating they would trim interest rates, if they had not already done so."But unless growth starts to pick up, central banks' actions will only help to delay the inevitable: a sizeable correction," Razaqzada said.Shares in Netflix dropped 11% on Wall Street after its quarterly update, released after the market close on Wednesday, showed weaker-than-expected subscriber growth for the streaming television services provider.Tobacco firm Philip Morris International said strong sales growth in heated tobacco units led to a 3% rise in quarterly operating income, as cigarette sales floundered.In the quarter ended June 30, Philip Morris recorded operating income of USD3.19 billion, 3% higher than the USD3.09 billion reported the year before.The Marlboro cigarette maker's net revenue was broadly flat year-on-year at USD7.70 billion. Philip Morris saw total cigarette sales slip 3.6% in the second quarter to 183.8 million. However, the company's heated tobacco units saw sales jump 37% to 15.1 million. Heated tobacco products heats up tobacco using a battery-powered heating system instead of burning it.Philip Morris International was up 7.4% in New York. Ahead in the US earnings calendar on Thursday, software maker Microsoft will report earnings after the market close in New York. Brent oil was quoted at USD61.73 a barrel at the London equities close, sharply lower than USD64.20 at the close Wednesday. Oil prices were lower weighed down by weakness in US stock markets and an expectation that crude output would rise in the Gulf of Mexico after Hurricane Barry passed through the region last week. Gold was quoted at USD1,426.40 an ounce at the London equities close, higher than USD1,422.80 late Wednesday, as demand for safe-haven assets increased. The economic events calendar on Friday has Japan inflation readings overnight, Germany producer prices at 0700 BST and eurozone current account figures at 0900 BST. The UK corporate calendar on Friday has trading statements from property company British Land, merchant bank Close Brothers, storage company Big Yellow Group and food & beverage concessions operator SSP Group. London Close is available to subscribers as an email newsletter. Contact info@alliancenews.com

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