London close: Stocks slip amid political ructions
London stocks had reversed earlier gains to trade a touch lower by the close of trading on Monday amid a new wave of political uncertainty.
The FTSE 100 finished the session down 0.24% to 7,415.18, while the pound was off 0.8% against the dollar at 1.3097 and 0.64% lower versus the euro at 1.1236.
Sterling was under pressure amid growing political uncertainty, as it emerged that as many as 40 Conservative MPs were preparing to sign a letter of no confidence in Prime Minister Theresa May ahead of a crucial round of Brexit negotiations.
IG analyst Joshua Mahony said: "With a slow start to the week expected amid a dearth of economic releases, the potential for yet another political upheaval in the UK has no doubt grabbed market attention, leading GBPUSD to hit the lowest level in a week owing to the possibility of further uncertainty.
"It would take just eight more MPs to put their name down to reach the 48 required to trigger an official vote which could lead to a new leadership contest. With the number gradually rising over recent weeks, there is a good chance the number could reach 48 soon enough, bringing greater uncertainty from a Tory party that while standing on a ticket of stability, has delivered anything but."
In corporate news, Rentokil Initial was little changed after saying it has acquired North America’s largest provider of mosquito control services, Vector Disease Acquisition, for an undisclosed consideration. The company also lifted its mergers and acquisitions pipeline guidance for the second half to $100m, saying prospects for further purchases remained “very strong”.
Vodafone nudged lower as it announced that its India operation and Idea Cellular have separately agreed to sell their respective standalone tower businesses in India to ATC Telecom Infrastructure for an aggregate enterprise value of INR 78.5bn.
Senior reversed earlier gains to trade lower as it appointed former BAE Systems boss Ian King as its chairman-designate, won a long-term component supply contract with Boeing on a range of its next generation of aeroplanes and said its expected full year results to be slightly better than forecast.
John Laing slipped after reporting underlying growth in its portfolio value for the nine months to 30 September of 5.5% to £1.23bn, on a rebased value of £1.16bn.
Ladbrokes Coral was in the red despite posting a 3% rise in net revenue, while funeral services provider Dignity fell sharply as it posted a small increase in revenue and profit in the third quarter, as the number of deaths was broadly flat.
Ultra Electronics tanked after it warned on revenue and pointed to a tough second half as it announced that Rakesh Sharma has stepped down as chief executive with immediate effect. The stock was also hit by a downgrade to ‘neutral’ from JPMorgan.
Coca-Cola HBC was under the cosh after a downgrade to neutral at JPMorgan.
Temporary power provider Aggreko edged up as it announced the appointment of Heath Drewett as its chief financial officer, replacing Carole Cran. Aggreko also benefited from an upgrade to 'buy' at Jefferies.
Softcat, which provides IT infrastructure products and services, ticked up after it announced the appointment of Graeme Watt as chief executive with effect from 1 April 2018, replacing Martin Hellawell.
Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey edged a touch higher as it reported a slowing in its sales rate in the second half of the year but said it still expected full year results to hit their targets.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Carnival (CCL) 4,947.00p 1.71%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 4,930.00p 1.23%
Pearson (PSON) 700.00p 1.01%
Diageo (DGE) 2,584.00p 0.96%
Unilever (ULVR) 4,261.50p 0.89%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,498.00p 0.88%
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 2,477.50p 0.81%
Prudential (PRU) 1,859.50p 0.76%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 2,435.50p 0.72%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 4,945.50p 0.72%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Babcock International Group (BAB) 753.00p -7.32%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 2,469.00p -4.49%
NMC Health (NMC) 2,798.00p -4.11%
BAE Systems (BA.) 539.00p -3.06%
Kingfisher (KGF) 300.80p -2.91%
Bunzl (BNZL) 2,099.00p -2.69%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 210.30p -2.68%
3i Group (III) 925.00p -2.17%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 908.00p -2.16%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 227.30p -2.11%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Coats Group (COA) 87.50p 2.94%
Acacia Mining (ACA) 179.00p 2.70%
Vietnam Enterprise Investments (DI) (VEIL) 413.30p 2.56%
Halfords Group (HFD) 339.60p 2.04%
Aggreko (AGK) 968.00p 1.84%
Vesuvius (VSVS) 571.00p 1.51%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 651.00p 1.40%
Pershing Square Holdings Ltd NPV (PSH) 1,034.00p 1.27%
HarbourVest Global Private Equity Limited A Shs (HVPE) 1,295.00p 1.17%
Genesis Emerging Markets Fund Ltd Ptg NPV (GSS) 700.50p 1.08%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Ultra Electronics Holdings (ULE) 1,230.00p -19.45%
Dignity (DTY) 2,264.00p -7.86%
QinetiQ Group (QQ.) 213.90p -6.51%
Serco Group (SRP) 101.00p -5.96%
Mitie Group (MTO) 226.60p -4.35%
Polypipe Group (PLP) 377.20p -4.02%
Meggitt (MGGT) 472.30p -3.93%
Just Group (JUST) 145.50p -3.71%
International Public Partnerships Ltd. (INPP) 154.40p -3.68%
Restaurant Group (RTN) 277.90p -3.64%