London open: Stocks nudge lower ahead of jobs data
(ShareCast News) - London stocks nudged lower in early trade as investors sifted through a raft of corporate news and awaited the release of UK unemployment data.
At 0830 BST, the FTSE 100 was down 0.2% to 7,507.53 after closing above 7,500 for the first time in the previous session. Meanwhile, the pound was flat against the dollar at 1.2915.
The unemployment rate, average earnings and the claimant count are all due at 0930 BST.
Accendo Markets analyst Mike van Dulken said the onus may be placed on weekly earnings figures after Tuesday's "blowout" inflation data, which highlighted a fresh squeeze on consumers. "Headline unemployment is seen remaining at 4.7% while weekly earnings (ex-bonus) are seen falling to 2.1% from 2.2% previously, well below yesterday's CPI print of 2.7%."
Investors were also likely to keep an eye on the US following reports that President Trump asked former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey to end his investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's ties with Russia. According to The New York Times, Trump told Comey he should consider trying to jail journalists for publishing classified information.
On the UK corporate front, British Land fell despite reporting a much stronger net asset value at its year end than the market was expecting and, despite the ongoing uncertainty around the economy, saying it was confident of generating better returns in the year ahead.
Energy supplier SSE edged lower despite posting results that were better than it expected and lifting its total dividend.
Pub group Mitchells & Butlers was in the red as it reported a drop in profit for the 28 weeks to 8 April despite a rise in sales, pointing to increased costs and exchange rate movements.
Trade publication and events group UBM nudged lower after saying it has performed in line with management expectations and its outlook for the full year is unchanged, while wealth manager Brewin Dolphin was on the back foot despite a rise in funds and profit for the half year to the end of March.
Spectris was also weaker as it appointed a new chairman and highlighted mixed trading in the year to date, while shares in estate agency Foxtons fell after it reported a 25% drop in revenues for the quarter to the end of March.
Dunelm and Halfords were hit by downgrades at HSBC, while Hikma was dented by a downgrade at Jefferies.
On the upside, Lloyds Banking Group rose after the UK government sold down its remaining shares in the bank, returning it to full private ownership.
Hargreaves Lansdown bounced back from heavy falls on Tuesday on worries about competition from US fund manager Vanguard.
Countryside Properties rallied after it said full-year profit was likely to be ahead of market expectations and reported a 31% jump in half-year completions and an increase in profit, while Tullow Oil gushed higher after making an "important" discovery in Northern Kenya.
Cyber security company Sophos - whose shares have benefited from the recent WannaCry security hack - racked up healthy gains after its full-year results beat expectations, with reported billings up 18.2% and a big hike in the dividend.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,507.53 -0.19%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,819.03 -0.29%
techMARK (TASX) 3,610.49 -0.12%
FTSE 100 - Risers
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,356.00p 2.42%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,595.00p 2.05%
Kingfisher (KGF) 363.80p 1.56%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 7,395.00p 1.02%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 70.68p 0.76%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 7,569.00p 0.71%
Persimmon (PSN) 2,414.00p 0.54%
Royal Mail (RMG) 427.50p 0.47%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 611.50p 0.41%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 197.20p 0.36%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 1,733.00p -1.87%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,199.00p -1.32%
British Land Company (BLND) 665.50p -1.26%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 1,604.00p -1.11%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,111.00p -1.02%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 856.50p -0.98%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 756.10p -0.92%
Convatec Group (CTEC) 298.60p -0.86%
CRH (CRH) 2,850.00p -0.84%
SSE (SSE) 1,439.00p -0.83%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Sophos Group (SOPH) 388.00p 4.92%
Countryside Properties (CSP) 302.00p 3.46%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 205.20p 1.99%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 163.00p 1.49%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 274.60p 1.33%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 169.20p 1.32%
Nostrum Oil & Gas (NOG) 495.70p 0.71%
Acacia Mining (ACA) 429.10p 0.68%
Serco Group (SRP) 123.00p 0.65%
Virgin Money Holdings (UK) (VM.) 308.00p 0.65%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 264.10p -3.96%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 597.00p -3.08%
Halfords Group (HFD) 352.10p -2.22%
Auto Trader Group (AUTO) 410.20p -2.17%
CYBG (CYBG) 275.80p -1.71%
Ted Baker (TED) 2,478.00p -1.59%
Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 1,073.00p -1.56%
Pets at Home Group (PETS) 157.80p -1.50%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 1,043.00p -1.42%
Rank Group (RNK) 205.00p -1.35%