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London open: Stocks edge lower amid Middle East tensions

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Friday 14 Jun 2019

London open: Stocks edge lower amid Middle East tensions

(Sharecast News) - London stocks edged lower in early trade on Friday, with little on the corporate front to distract investors from rising tensions in the Middle East.
At 0830 BST, the FTSE 100 was down 0.3% at 7,347.09, while the pound was flat against the dollar and the euro at 1.2673 and 1.1234, respectively.

Market participants were erring on the side of caution after the US blamed Iran for attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said on Thursday that Iran had threatened earlier to restrain oil transport in the Strait of Hormuz.

Pompeo gave no evidence and did not take any questions from reporters, but Trump administration officials said that at least one of the ships was attacked by mines. They showed a picture of a tanker with a hole caused by a mine that had exploded and an undetonated mine inside.

Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said: "It is the latest spat between two nations already at odds over the ending of waivers for sanctions on countries importing oil from Iran back in April, and gives Trump another geopolitical stand-off to address at the month's G20 meeting in Osaka."

Meanwhile, uninspiring Chinese data also weighed on the mood.

Fixed asset investment rose 5.6% in May, down from from 6.1% in April and slowing to its worst level in seven months. It also missed expectations for it to remain unchanged. Industrial production growth slowed to its worst level in 17 years, to 5% from 5.4% the month before, versus expectations of 5.5% growth.

Retail sales were the only bright spot, with growth of 8.6% compared to 7.2% the month before and expectations of 8.1%.

Campbell said China was "clearly feeling the trade war pinch".

Corporate news was scarce. Exhibitions and information company Ascential was in the red despite saying that trading was in line with full year expectations with its product design, marketing and sales divisions all reporting organic first half revenue growth.

Construction, services and property group Kier was under the cosh following a report that the company is preparing to sell its housebuilding unit amid increasing evidence of financial pressure on the group. According to The Times, Kier has sounded out advisers about the potential to sell the division, which is understood to be valued at between £100m and £150m.

Elsewhere, Amigo Holdings was a little higher even as it said chief executive Glen Crawford has left due to ill health, leaving the guarantor loans company without a boss until Crawford's replacement gets regulatory approval.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,347.09 -0.29%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,192.29 0.10%
techMARK (TASX) 3,605.30 -0.14%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Fresnillo (FRES) 822.80p 1.28%
easyJet (EZJ) 934.04p 0.98%
National Grid (NG.) 825.46p 0.85%
Kingfisher (KGF) 211.90p 0.57%
Flutter Entertainment (FLTR) 5,860.00p 0.51%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 469.30p 0.51%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 571.00p 0.46%
Next (NXT) 5,548.00p 0.40%
Centrica (CNA) 91.50p 0.39%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 826.20p 0.29%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 2,352.00p -1.51%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 356.00p -1.33%
NMC Health (NMC) 2,327.00p -1.31%
Diageo (DGE) 3,391.00p -0.98%
Pearson (PSON) 802.00p -0.96%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 642.20p -0.88%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 2,892.00p -0.87%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 173.05p -0.77%
Hiscox Limited (DI) (HSX) 1,674.00p -0.77%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,457.00p -0.77%

FTSE 250 - Risers

CLS Holdings (CLI) 222.00p 4.23%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 106.75p 2.59%
Royal Mail (RMG) 199.25p 1.89%
Rank Group (RNK) 156.20p 1.83%
Stobart Group Ltd. (STOB) 107.25p 1.75%
McCarthy & Stone (MCS) 136.53p 1.66%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 178.10p 1.66%
Card Factory (CARD) 181.30p 1.57%
Aveva Group (AVV) 4,014.00p 1.47%
Polypipe Group (PLP) 440.88p 1.40%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Kier Group (KIE) 192.50p -5.08%
Contour Global (GLO) 195.00p -2.30%
Lancashire Holdings Limited (LRE) 703.50p -2.16%
TalkTalk Telecom Group (TALK) 112.50p -1.66%
IP Group (IPO) 71.80p -1.64%
Greene King (GNK) 603.80p -1.40%
Indivior (INDV) 44.42p -1.31%
Babcock International Group (BAB) 467.47p -1.13%
Provident Financial (PFG) 451.85p -1.13%
Funding Circle Holdings (FCH) 240.00p -1.03%


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