London open: Stocks down on negative US and Asian cues, Hammerson drops on acquisition
London stocks fell in early trade on Wednesday, taking their cue from downbeat sessions in the US and Asia.
At 0830 GMT, the FTSE 100 was down 0.4% to 7,300.27, while the pound was off 0.3% versus the euro and the dollar at 1.1335 and 1.3400, respectively.
Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said: "Sterling just can’t shake its latest bout of Brexit sickness, while the European markets have been infected by the bearish trading seen in the US and Asia.
"With the DUP obstinate as ever, and Theresa May once again under fire for her bumbling, barely comprehensible approach to Brexit, the pound didn’t really stand a chance of recovering its recent losses this Wednesday.
"It seems that the usual negative pound/positive FTSE correlation has become a bit slack this week, with the day’s negative sentiment plaguing not only sterling but the UK index as well."
There are no major UK data releases due but investors will be eyeing Theresa May during Prime Minister's Questions at 1200 GMT, particularly after Monday's failed Brexit negotiations.
In corporate news, shopping centre owner Hammerson retreated after saying it has agreed to buy FTSE 350 rival Intu Properties in a £3.4bn all-share deal that will create a £21bn portfolio across Europe. Intu surged nearly 18%.
Medical technology business Smith & Nephew slipped after completing the acquisition of Rotation Medical Inc, which develops novel tissue regeneration technology for shoulder rotator cuff repair, for $125m, with a further $85m due over the next five years contingent on financial performance.
GlaxoSmithKline was a little weaker after it released new data from a Phase III clinical study which it said supports the safety and efficacy of Shingrix in preventing shingles when given to adults 18 years and above shortly after undergoing autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplant.
Shaftesbury was in the red as it announced plans for a placing of up to 27.86m new ordinary shares at 952p each, representing around 9.98% of the company and raising gross proceeds of up to £265m to fund a number of acquisitions.
Saga shares tanked after the over-50s specialist warned that profits in the current financial year would grow more slowly than expected and that 2018 profit would be down 5% on this year.
Marine engineering services group James Fisher edged up after buying Lancashire-based EDS, which provides a complete range of high voltage engineering services to the renewables industry, for up to £14.6m.
Stagecoach rallied after it kept its 2018 earnings forecast unchanged despite reporting a drop in bus revenue and passenger volumes for the first half.
EasyJet flew higher after the budget carrier reported an 8.1% jump in passenger numbers in November and announced new domestic German routes. It was also boosted by upgrades from JPMorgan and Investec.
Derwent London and Great Portland were up following upgrades by Credit Suisse, along with Land Securities.