(Sharecast News) - London stocks fell in early trade on Friday, taking their cue from a weak Asian session on news that Beijing is planning to impose a new security law on Hong Kong.
At 0840 BST, the FTSE 100 was down 2% at 5,893.34.
Sentiment took a hit after it emerged that China is planning to introduce a national security law on Hong Kong that would ban "treason, secession, sedition and subversion" of the central government in Beijing.
Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com, said: "Shares in Hong Kong plunged on fears Beijing's tough stance will spark fresh pro-democracy protests, potentially leading to the kind of widescale unrest we saw last year.
"The Hang Seng slid over 5% as China imposes controversial national security legislation that bypasses local lawmakers. The move was taken as China's National People's Congress convenes. Carrie Lam, the Hong Kong chief executive, says the territory will fully cooperate with China.
"This is a potentially significant flash point that will stir local protests and will anger the US. At a time of already strained relations between China and the West, this decision will only isolate Beijing even more. Investors will need to add renewed Hong Kong-Beijing tensions into their mix of geopolitical risks, whilst the way it fits into the broader US-China rivalry will be closely watched."
Also weighing on the mood was China's decision to scrap its annual growth target for the first time due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
On home shores, the latest data releases did nothing to boost investor morale. Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed retail sales tumbled 18.1% in April, marking the biggest fall since records began in 1988 amid the coronavirus lockdown. Meanwhile, government borrowing hit its highest level on record last month at £62.1bn.
In equity markets, Asia-focused Prudential, HSBC and Standard Chartered were all under the cosh.
Elsewhere, investment platform AJ Bell was sharply lower after fund manager Invesco sold a 7.6% stake in the company.
Transport operator Go-Ahead lost ground as it warned that full-year operating profit will fall short of consensus expectations due to the pandemic.
On the upside, luxury fashion brand Burberry rallied despite pulling its final dividend and saying it took a £241m hit as a result of the virus outbreak.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 5,893.34 -2.03%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 16,103.74 -1.72%
techMARK (TASX) 3,671.55 -1.45%
FTSE 100 - Risers
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,400.50p 1.85%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,704.50p 0.77%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 2,531.00p 0.64%
Compass Group (CPG) 1,142.00p 0.57%
Whitbread (WTB) 2,462.00p 0.04%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 180.20p -0.22%
DCC (DCC) 6,468.00p -0.31%
ITV (ITV) 75.76p -0.32%
Imperial Brands (IMB) 1,521.50p -0.39%
Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 8,578.00p -0.39%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Prudential (PRU) 1,018.50p -8.61%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 373.25p -6.43%
Meggitt (MGGT) 248.00p -6.10%
Centrica (CNA) 34.50p -5.45%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 373.90p -4.50%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 88.42p -4.41%
M&G (MNG) 115.60p -4.23%
Glencore (GLEN) 145.50p -3.35%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 1,261.20p -3.30%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 274.00p -3.28%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Barr (A.G.) (BAG) 474.50p 2.04%
Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited NPV (SONG) 106.50p 1.91%
Avast (AVST) 488.40p 1.79%
Domino's Pizza Group (DOM) 360.20p 0.78%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 175.10p 0.72%
CLS Holdings (CLI) 183.00p 0.66%
IP Group (IPO) 58.20p 0.52%
Kainos Group (KNOS) 859.00p 0.47%
FDM Group (Holdings) (FDM) 795.00p 0.25%
Watches of Switzerland Group (WOSG) 250.50p 0.20%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
AJ Bell (AJB) 389.00p -12.78%
Go-Ahead Group (GOG) 1,100.00p -10.50%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 183.40p -6.36%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 34.98p -5.46%
Investec (INVP) 146.00p -5.35%
WH Smith (SMWH) 942.00p -5.33%
Grafton Group Units (GFTU) 602.00p -4.82%
Scottish Inv Trust (SCIN) 716.00p -4.79%
National Express Group (NEX) 197.80p -4.63%
Elementis (ELM) 59.55p -4.57%
(Sharecast News) - Wall Street stocks turned in a mixed performance on Friday after Donald Trump said the White House was set to begin taking action to revoke Hong Kong's favoured trade status with the United States.