London close: Stocks finish flat amid geopolitical squabbles

By Alexander Bueso

Date: Friday 17 Aug 2018

London close: Stocks finish flat amid geopolitical squabbles

(Sharecast News) - London stocks managed to crawl back into the black on Friday as investors weighed up the latest developments in Sino-US relations and Washington's threat of more economic sanctions on Turkey.
The FTSE 100 edged higher by 0.03% to 7,558.59, while the pound was up by 0.2% against the greenback at 1.27352 and 0.2% lower versus the euro at 1.1158.

However, the Footsie finished the week 108.42 points lower.

White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow confirmed overnight that the US and China will resume trade talks later this month, but he also cautioned that President Trump is committed to making sure the administration gets a good deal.

"The Chinese government, in its totality, must not underestimate President Trump's toughness and willingness to continue this battle to eliminate tariffs and non-tariff barriers and quotas, to stop the theft of intellectual property and to stop the forced transfer of technology," Kudlow said in an interview with CNBC. "Those are the asks that we've been making now for quite some time."

Investors were however a bit wary after US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin signalled a more hard-line approach to Turkey, saying that the US could impose more sanctions on the country if President Erdogan refuses the quick release of the American pastor at the heart of the Turkey crisis, Andrew Brunson.

"We put sanctions on several of the Cabinet members," Mnuchin said Thursday during a Cabinet meeting at the White House. "We have more that we're planning to do if they don't release him quickly."

On that note, on Friday afternoon a Turkish appeals court refused Brunson's plea to be let free, although according to some reports a higher tribunal had yet to hand down a ruling in the case.

Things were pretty quiet on the UK corporate front, with defensive stocks leading the blue chip gains.

Royal Bank of Scotland reversed early losses, helped by an upgrade out of HSBC from 'hold' to 'buy'. Earlier in the session, it confirmed that chief financial officer Ewen Stevenson will step down from the board on 30 September, after he resigned in May. Katie Murray, his current deputy CFO, will become interim CFO while Stevenson's permanent successor is sought.

TI Fluids Systems was little changed after announcing a 2.7p a share dividend to be paid on 28 September.

Outside the FTSE 350, Interserve rallied as a consortium led by the support services and construction group won a £105m project for Durham University.

Waste management company Biffa also racked up healthy gains as it announced the acquisition of waste and recycling solutions group Weir Waste Services for £16.2m.

On the broker note front, Esure was lifted to 'equalweight' at Barclays and Glencore was boosted to 'hold' at Liberum.

On the downside, Kaz Minerals tumbled after a downgrade to 'neutral' at Credit Suisse and Spirax-Sarco was downgraded to 'sell' at Investec.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,558.59 0.03%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 20,444.36 -0.09%
techMARK (TASX) 3,547.44 0.03%

FTSE 100 - Risers

RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 640.80p 1.59%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,338.00p 1.34%
Compass Group (CPG) 1,697.50p 1.34%
Evraz (EVR) 466.80p 1.19%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 4,203.00p 1.08%
Just Eat (JE.) 787.80p 1.08%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 2,172.00p 0.88%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 1,023.50p 0.84%
Severn Trent (SVT) 2,014.00p 0.78%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,379.00p 0.77%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Antofagasta (ANTO) 827.00p -1.97%
Next (NXT) 5,460.00p -1.16%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 334.60p -1.06%
Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 542.70p -1.02%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 1,046.00p -0.99%
Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 332.40p -0.98%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 644.80p -0.97%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,566.00p -0.94%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 696.60p -0.90%
Prudential (PRU) 1,719.00p -0.87%

FTSE 250 - Risers

BTG (BTG) 534.00p 5.01%
Syncona Limited NPV (SYNC) 290.00p 3.20%
Fisher (James) & Sons (FSJ) 1,814.00p 2.60%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 1,818.00p 2.42%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,835.00p 2.40%
IMI (IMI) 1,149.00p 2.22%
Sophos Group (SOPH) 488.80p 2.17%
Clarkson (CKN) 2,660.00p 1.92%
Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 386.80p 1.84%
Ted Baker (TED) 2,174.00p 1.78%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Kaz Minerals (KAZ) 481.97p -13.97%
Rank Group (RNK) 164.20p -3.98%
AA (AA.) 112.35p -3.64%
IP Group (IPO) 120.60p -3.52%
Indivior (INDV) 272.20p -3.48%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 155.45p -3.18%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 287.00p -3.04%
Charter Court Financial Services Group (CCFS) 328.80p -3.01%
Balfour Beatty (BBY) 284.20p -2.00%
Renewi (RWI) 65.40p -1.80%


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