London midday: Stocks remain in red as Tui tumbles; ex-divs take toll
Stocks were still under water by midday on a wet Thursday in London as sharp losses for travel group Tui and a slew of ex-dividends weighed.
The FTSE 100 was down 0.6% to 7,729.11, while the pound was up 0.1% against the dollar at 1.2888 and 0.2% firmer versus the euro at 1.1115.
Investors were mulling over fresh US sanctions on Russia on the back of the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK earlier this year.
The new sanctions, due to take effect around 22 August, cover exports of sensitive electronic components and other technologies that can have military applications. In addition, there will be some further restrictions on Russian access to US financial services.
Accendo Markets analyst Mike van Dulken said: "Trade concerns remain to the fore, and not just between the US and China, with Washington set to slap more sanctions on Russia. Ahead of mid-term elections, this may help Trump look tougher vis-a-vis the Kremlin, distancing himself from Putin and, he will hope, allegations of collusion."
Data released earlier in China showed that consumer prices rose by 2.1% in July versus expectations for 1.9% and June's 1.9%, while the PPI for last month was 4.6% versus expectations of 4.4% and 4.7% in June.
CMC Markets analyst David Madden said the reports suggest that demand in China is still firm.
"Traders will be paying close attention to the major economic indicators from China to see if the US’s tariffs are hurting the economy. On Wednesday, Chinese exports and imports comfortably analysts’ forecasts, so the Chinese economy is still holding up well."
Elsewhere, a survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors suggested that rents could rise 15% by 2023 as the supply of new rental properties dries up.
In corporate news, travel group TUI was under the cosh as it posted a drop in third-quarter underlying earnings but stuck to its guidance of at least 10% growth in underlying EBITA for the year. Peer Thomas Cook also lost ground.
Randgold Resources retreated after reporting a drop in second-quarter profit, while Coca-Cola HBC fizzed lower despite saying the first-half pre-tax profit was up 14%.
Card Factory tumbled as the greeting cards retailer said it expects full-year underlying earnings to be between £89m and £91m, down from last year's £94m on the back of uncertainty about Brexit and "extreme" weather conditions.
Security firm G4S was in the red as it reported a 36.5% drop in first-half pre-tax profit and BTG was under pressure after the US Food and Drug Administration said its Elevair treatment was not approvable.
Savills was on the back foot as the estate agency said first-half profit fell amid challenging market conditions.
Ex-dividend stocks took 39 points off the FTSE 100 and 17.5 points off the 250, with AstraZeneca, BT Group, Barclays, Diageo, Direct Line, Fresnillo, GlaxoSmithKline, Hiscox, IMI, Informa, Man Group, Jupiter Fund Management, Royal Dutch Shell, Rio Tinto and Virgin Money all in the frame.
Legal & General bucked the trend as it produced a first-half operating profit that was ahead of City forecasts, while Evraz rose as it said net profit increased in the first half of the year.
Miners were higher, led by Antofagasta, Fresnillo and Glencore, like on the back of the China data and stronger copper prices.
Cineworld racked up blockbuster gains after posting a surge in first-half profit thanks to its acquisition of Regal in the US earlier this year.
Brick maker Ibstock advanced after its interim results, while insurer and roadside assistance group AA gained ground after saying it was on track to deliver its targets for 2019 despite extreme weather conditions.
On the broker note front, BBA Aviation was lifted to 'buy' at Liberum, while Capita and UDG Healthcare were upgraded to 'buy' at Jefferies. Virgin Money was cut to 'hold' at Investec.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Antofagasta (ANTO) 982.40p 2.10%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,016.00p 1.84%
Glencore (GLEN) 331.90p 1.64%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 4,717.00p 1.51%
NMC Health (NMC) 4,036.00p 1.31%
Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 3,294.00p 1.04%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 2,096.00p 1.01%
Croda International (CRDA) 5,240.00p 1.00%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 6,049.00p 1.00%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 2,428.00p 0.75%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 1,467.00p -7.30%
BT Group (BT.A) 229.67p -4.31%
Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 324.50p -2.90%
CRH (CRH) 2,549.00p -2.11%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,580.00p -2.03%
Diageo (DGE) 2,782.00p -1.77%
WPP (WPP) 1,210.08p -1.66%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 538.00p -1.65%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 4,148.50p -1.51%
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 2,613.50p -1.49%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Cineworld Group (CINE) 298.00p 7.81%
Capita (CPI) 136.33p 6.25%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 177.85p 4.74%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 114.80p 3.28%
Sirius Minerals (SXX) 38.38p 2.95%
AA (AA.) 117.35p 2.76%
Spirax-Sarco Engineering (SPX) 6,995.00p 2.57%
Provident Financial (PFG) 693.60p 2.42%
Games Workshop Group (GAW) 3,195.00p 2.40%
Syncona Limited NPV (SYNC) 252.58p 2.26%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Card Factory (CARD) 189.87p -9.93%
G4S (GFS) 257.60p -8.65%
Spire Healthcare Group (SPI) 160.00p -7.35%
Savills (SVS) 819.93p -5.10%
BTG (BTG) 504.88p -3.83%
Jupiter Fund Management (JUP) 418.70p -3.37%
Redrow (RDW) 531.13p -2.54%
Mediclinic International (MDC) 492.00p -2.54%
RPC Group (RPC) 764.20p -2.43%
Renewi (RWI) 69.40p -2.25%