FTSE 100 movers: Precious metals miners avoid a beating; just 3 stocks in the green
It was a sea of red in London equity markets on Thursday, with the FTSE 100 down 2.8% to 6,727.65 in afternoon trade as only three stocks kept their head above water amid renewed concerns about Sino-US relations.
Precious metals miners Randgold Resources and Fresnillo were the top risers, with investors no doubt looking for somewhere safe to park their cash amid the risk-off tone, as the arrest of Huawei's CFO reignited trade jitters.
Defensive stock Severn Trent was clinging on to positive territory by the skin of its teeth, with National Grid, British American Tobacco, Imperial Brands, United Utilities and Diageo suffering the least heavy losses.
"All these are considered to be defensive stocks, offering goods and services people would buy regardless of economic conditions," said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.
"Diageo is perhaps an exception as an alcohol seller yet investors often turn to large, robust business in times of strife."
As far for the main fallers, there was no particular rhyme or reason for most of the individual declines as stocks fell across the board.
Packaging group DS Smith slumped despite saying it grew profits 28% in the first half of the year as acquisitions and solid organic growth combined with an increased return on sales margin.
Mould said it was hard to find any major faults with the results and offered up three potential reasons for the share price fall, aside from the broader malaise in markets.
The first is that higher polymer prices have hurt profitability in its plastics division, which has now been put up for sale. The second is that investors in general seem to be increasingly worried about the pace of global economic growth. The third is that that corrugated box volume growth has actually slowed down in the half-year period, rising by 3.2% versus 5.2% growth reported in its previous full financial year.
"This may have spooked investors and led them to fear that DS Smith’s purple patch is coming to an end," said Mould.
Antofagasta and Glencore slid, with miners especially sensitive to any worries about the global economy and China.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 6,498.00p 1.82%
Fresnillo (FRES) 777.00p 0.31%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,853.50p 0.05%
National Grid (NG.) 825.00p -0.06%
Pearson (PSON) 924.60p -0.22%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 2,720.50p -0.24%
Imperial Brands (IMB) 2,361.50p -0.44%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 751.40p -0.61%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 161.36p -1.01%
Diageo (DGE) 2,783.00p -1.03%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Antofagasta (ANTO) 756.20p -7.53%
Prudential (PRU) 1,397.00p -7.15%
Schroders (SDR) 2,356.00p -6.10%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 157.05p -5.59%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 308.50p -5.46%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 228.70p -5.34%
Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 465.24p -5.19%
DCC (DCC) 5,725.00p -4.90%
Glencore (GLEN) 271.95p -4.75%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 597.00p -4.66%