London close: FTSE meanders to mixed close with Trump-Xi summit in focus
(ShareCast News) - Stocks in London meandered to a mixed end of session on Thursday with markets keeping a cautious eye on the Florida summit between the presidents of the US and China
The FTSE 100 finished its day down 0.39% to 7,303.20, and the FTSE 250 halted up 0.30% at 19,126.08. A long list of stocks going ex-dividend acted as a drag from the outset.
"As for today it's been a mixed session with the FTSE 100 underwater for most of the day while European markets have been slightly more buoyant," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.
In the States, the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were all trending mildly higher, while in Europe the Euro Stoxx 50, Dax and Cac 40 posted rises as well.
Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, the presidents of the US and China, were meeting for two days, with markets very much uncertain as to the tone and outcome of their summit.
FXTM research analyst Lukman Otunuga noted markets' anxiety ahead of the Trump-Xi summit, which had dented risk sentiment and given gold a boost.
"With the Brexit negotiations, elections in Europe and Trump developments likely to create a risk-off atmosphere," he said, noting the US president's reputation for the unexpected.
"If Trump decides to play hardball and maintains his harsh rhetoric on China, then risk aversion may intensify consequently sending investor's rushing towards safe-haven assets."
This was after the US Federal Open Market Committee surprised with a hawkish tone in issuing its minutes last night.
Investors were left digesting news the Federal Reserve was ready to start cutting its balance sheet before the end of the year. They were also looking to US non-farm payrolls numbers out on Friday.
On the UK corporate front in London, it was pharmaceutical, mining and financial stocks pulling the FTSE 100 down, and more than outstripping gains among commercial and residential property companies and utilities.
Next, Wolseley, Paddy Power Betfair, Smiths Group, St James's Place, Aviva and Lloyds Banking Group were among the FTSE 100 equities going ex-dividend.
Legal & General said it had completed the sale of its Netherlands unit to Chesnara for €161m (£137.6m).
Budget airline easyJet reported a 10.6% rise in passenger numbers for March to 6.33m, while the load factor rose 1.4 percentage points to 92.7%.
Royal Mail subsidiary General Logistics Systems has acquired US overnight parcel delivery company Postal Express for about $13.3m in a deal expected to be profit accretive in 2018-19.
Hikma Pharmaceuticals has settled a legal dispute with Jazz Pharmaceuticals over a patent related to Jazz's narcolepsy treatment Xyrem. Hikma also went ex-dividend.
Education publisher Pearson went ex-dividend, and was also hurt by a downbeat note from Exane BNP Paribas.
Unilever said that alongside new plans to "go faster and further" with its restructuring programme, it has upped its annual dividend guidance and launched a €5bn share buyback. It also confirmed it will sell off its spreads business.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,303.20 -0.39%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,126.08 0.30%
techMARK (TASX) 3,422.51 -0.43%
FTSE 100 - Risers
easyJet (EZJ) 1,060.00p 4.23%
British Land Company (BLND) 636.00p 2.25%
Persimmon (PSN) 2,145.00p 2.14%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 559.00p 1.91%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 1,089.00p 1.68%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,594.00p 1.27%
Unilever (ULVR) 3,978.00p 0.98%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 861.00p 0.94%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 1,094.00p 0.92%
Hammerson (HMSO) 582.00p 0.87%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Pearson (PSON) 637.00p -6.67%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 63.59p -2.90%
Aviva (AV.) 514.50p -2.83%
Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) 8,385.00p -2.33%
Shire Plc (SHP) 4,603.50p -1.91%
St James's Place (STJ) 1,034.00p -1.80%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,633.50p -1.77%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 1,899.00p -1.71%
Next (NXT) 4,042.00p -1.63%
Sage Group (SGE) 624.50p -1.42%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Homeserve (HSV) 632.50p 11.65%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 212.20p 7.49%
Countryside Properties (CSP) 260.40p 6.55%
CLS Holdings (CLI) 1,931.00p 3.82%
IP Group (IPO) 144.50p 3.73%
Capital & Counties Properties (CAPC) 307.10p 3.51%
Redrow (RDW) 531.00p 3.41%
Restaurant Group (RTN) 344.20p 2.90%
Go-Ahead Group (GOG) 1,742.00p 2.89%
Derwent London (DLN) 2,890.00p 2.85%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Electra Private Equity (ELTA) 2,440.00p -52.25%
Allied Minds (ALM) 175.00p -5.41%
Metro Bank (MTRO) 3,389.00p -3.20%
Berendsen (BRSN) 746.00p -3.12%
Virgin Money Holdings (UK) (VM.) 301.90p -2.99%
Bovis Homes Group (BVS) 868.50p -2.63%
Mitie Group (MTO) 214.10p -2.46%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 828.00p -2.36%
Ashmore Group (ASHM) 357.80p -2.35%
Entertainment One Limited (ETO) 237.50p -2.30%