London open: Stocks edge lower as traders return from Easter break
London stocks edged lower early on Tuesday as traders returned to their desks following the Easter break, with miners and financials pacing the decline.
At 0835 BST, the FTSE 100 was down 0.5% to 7,291.38, with mining shares and banking stocks suffering the heaviest losses, while the pound was up 0.2% against the dollar to $1.2584.
On the geopolitical front, market participants will continue to eye any developments between the US and North Korea, and a meeting between US Vice President Mike Pence and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe later on Tuesday.
Accendo Markets analyst Mike van Dulken said: “Geopolitical concerns may be off the boil and safe haven assets off their best, but they continue to simmer be it from a nuclear standpoint on the North Korean peninsula or politically in France and Turkey and across the Atlantic with the US Treasury secretary suggesting Healthcare bill problems will delay tax cuts.”
During a visit to the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea on Monday, Pence said that “the era of strategic patience is over", adding that the US was seeking security "through peaceable means".
Investors were also digesting growth figures out of China, which showed gross domestic product grew 6.9% year-on-year in the first quarter, slightly faster than the 6.8% expansion in the fourth quarter last year and marking the fastest expansion since the third quarter of 2015.
In corporate news, Ashmore Group was in the red despite saying it returned to net inflows into its funds in the three months to the end of March as investors regained confidence in emerging markets.
Assets under management increased by $3.7bn during the third quarter, comprising positive investment performance of $2.3bn and net inflows of $1.4bn.
Daily Mail & General Trust ticked lower after selling its US video sharing platform Elite Daily to Bustle Digital Group for an undisclosed sum.
Exeter-based airline Flybe Group nudged higher as it announced that its chief financial officer Philip de Klerk had resigned to take up the position of CFO at another unnamed company.
Bovis Homes got a lift after Jefferies upped the stock to ‘buy’. Esure and Hastings were cut cut to ‘equalweight’ at Barclays, while Foxtons was cut to ‘neutral’ at Citigroup.
There are no major UK data releases due, but in the US, housing starts and building permits are at 1330 BST.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,738.00p 1.07%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 254.20p 1.03%
Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 347.30p 1.02%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 835.00p 0.78%
Persimmon (PSN) 2,235.00p 0.63%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,991.00p 0.61%
Kingfisher (KGF) 328.90p 0.58%
Next (NXT) 4,217.00p 0.57%
Provident Financial (PFG) 3,140.00p 0.54%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 2,549.00p 0.51%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Anglo American (AAL) 1,131.00p -3.33%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,044.00p -2.47%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,240.50p -2.25%
Glencore (GLEN) 302.65p -2.07%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 819.50p -1.86%
BP (BP.) 463.15p -1.69%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 225.10p -1.44%
Barclays (BARC) 210.05p -1.22%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 7,450.00p -1.19%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 2,081.50p -1.19%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Ladbrokes Coral Group (LCL) 132.50p 3.11%
Redrow (RDW) 554.00p 2.03%
Bovis Homes Group (BVS) 927.00p 1.70%
Fisher (James) & Sons (FSJ) 1,734.00p 1.52%
Sophos Group (SOPH) 326.80p 1.30%
Pagegroup (PAGE) 495.90p 1.14%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 314.50p 1.09%
Lancashire Holdings Limited (LRE) 686.00p 1.03%
Howden Joinery Group (HWDN) 456.70p 1.02%
Playtech (PTEC) 946.50p 1.01%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Kaz Minerals (KAZ) 438.50p -3.69%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 276.10p -3.43%
Evraz (EVR) 215.50p -2.75%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 741.50p -2.50%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 203.80p -2.16%
esure Group (ESUR) 236.40p -2.03%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 152.00p -1.94%
Acacia Mining (ACA) 485.50p -1.60%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 187.50p -1.57%
Aberforth Smaller Companies Trust (ASL) 1,237.00p -1.43%