London open: Stocks edge lower as investors wade through corporate news
London stocks edged lower in early trade on Thursday as investors waded through a torrent of corporate news ahead of the resumption of Brexit talks.
At 0850 GMT, the FTSE 100 was down 0.3% to 7,509.51, as the pound was up 0.2% against the dollar and the euro at 1.3138 and 1.1331, respectively.
Market participants were mulling over inflation figures from China, where the consumer price index and producer price index came in at 1.9% and 6.9% respectively in October, versus consensus estimates of 1.8% and 6.6%.
Also in focus was the latest housing data from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, which showed house prices were down in four areas of the country in October, with London, the South East, East Anglia and north-east England all showing declines.
Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: "The combination of the increased cost of moving, a lack of fresh stock coming to the market, uncertainly over the political climate and now an interest rate hike appears to be taking its toll on activity in the housing market."
Looking ahead to the rest of the day, investors will eye the resumption of Brexit talks.
Oanda analyst Craig Erlam said: “I doubt many are optimistic on progress given how previous meetings have gone. Time is fast running out for both sides to agree to move onto transition and trade talks before businesses begin planning for no deal worst case scenario.
“This would be particularly problematic for the UK so any sign that we’re headed in this direction could be bad for the pound. It will be interesting to see how vulnerable sterling is to these talks over the next couple of days.”
Meanwhile, there was no shortage of corporate news for investors to sink their teeth into.
Shares in luxury fashion house Burberry tanked as new CEO Marco Gobbetti said he wants to take the group's clothes out of US stores where its products sit alongside less desirable goods to enhance their luxury credentials - a move that will hit revenues for two years.
Supermarket group Sainsbury’s declined as half-year profits dropped 9% and are not expected to turn positive in the full year.
Hikma Pharmaceuticals was under the cosh after it cut forecasts for its generics business for the third time this year as it blamed challenging market conditions in the US.
Housebuilder Redrow was on the back foot after it said trading in the first 18 weeks of the new financial year was in line with expectations, but noted a slight slowdown in sales in recent weeks.
Builders merchants Grafton was down despite reporting a rise in revenue in the 10 months to the end of October, while retailer Supergroup retreated despite posting a gain in revenue for the 26 weeks to 28 October.
On the upside, AstraZeneca rallied after saying it now expects full year earnings to be towards the "favourable end" of its previous guidance.
Informa, the events and publishing company, was on the front foot as it said underlying revenue was up 3.2% for the first 10 months of the year, while retail property developer Hammerson rose after saying third-quarter total leasing volumes were up 17% on the same quarter last year.
Satellite group nmarsat rallied after posting a jump in third-quarter revenues while Auto Trader was up after it reported an increase in revenue and profit for the first half.
FTSE 100 - Risers
AstraZeneca (AZN) 5,104.00p 2.20%
Informa (INF) 714.00p 1.64%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 2,596.00p 1.37%
Old Mutual (OML) 192.90p 0.89%
Hammerson (HMSO) 526.00p 0.86%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 612.50p 0.82%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 217.60p 0.79%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 743.00p 0.66%
GKN (GKN) 328.50p 0.61%
Prudential (PRU) 1,847.00p 0.57%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,797.00p -9.47%
Persimmon (PSN) 2,689.00p -2.99%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 192.40p -2.53%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 619.00p -2.52%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 228.20p -2.27%
NMC Health (NMC) 2,996.00p -2.06%
ITV (ITV) 158.10p -2.04%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 326.40p -2.01%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 6,890.00p -1.64%
Glencore (GLEN) 366.25p -1.33%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Dixons Carphone (DC.) 156.90p 2.89%
Inmarsat (ISAT) 576.00p 2.86%
Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 3,110.00p 2.84%
Auto Trader Group (AUTO) 360.70p 2.38%
3i Infrastructure (3IN) 198.60p 1.22%
Riverstone Energy Limited (RSE) 1,335.00p 1.06%
Stobart Group Ltd. (STOB) 287.90p 1.05%
Indivior (INDV) 388.40p 0.91%
CYBG (CYBG) 314.40p 0.90%
Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 1,141.00p 0.88%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Card Factory (CARD) 284.70p -7.35%
Vectura Group (VEC) 89.40p -7.31%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 969.50p -6.87%
Redrow (RDW) 608.50p -5.14%
Go-Ahead Group (GOG) 1,704.00p -4.75%
Grafton Group Units (GFTU) 788.50p -4.19%
Bellway (BWY) 3,496.00p -3.66%
Big Yellow Group (BYG) 753.50p -3.40%
Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 527.50p -3.21%
Halfords Group (HFD) 323.10p -2.89%