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London open: Reckitt shines amid dull start to week

By Oliver Haill

Date: Monday 18 Feb 2019

London open: Reckitt shines amid dull start to week

(Sharecast News) - London stocks got off to an indifferent start on Monday after finishing last week around four-month highs.
The FTSE 100 index was down almost 16 points or 0.2% to 7,221.06 after three quarters of an hour of trading at the start of the week. Sterling was up 0.2% against the dollar at 1.2911 and 0.1% versus the euro at 1.1419.

The closure of Wall Street for the Presidents' Day holiday will affect trading volumes over the day, but news flow from across the Atlantic still provided a small hand as President Trump, having been briefed by his trade negotiators on the progress made with Chinese counterparts in Beijing, said that the talks had been "very productive".

Negotiations between the two economic powers are set to continue over the course of the following week in Washington DC.

"An extension looks the most likely outcome, with 90 days just not enough time to reach a comprehensive deal," said market analyst Craig Erlam at Oanda.

"Trump has indicated that he could support an extension despite claiming to like tariffs during his press conference on Friday, something that will comfort investors at a time when global growth concerns are posing a significant risk for markets."

Back in the UK, talk of a split to the Labour party injected some drama into what is down to be another week of Brexit limbo as Prime Minister Theresa May heads off to Brussels again to try and negotiate some small concessions from the EU ahead of a parliamentary vote on Brexit at the end of the month.

Elsewhere, UK house prices increased at a year-on-year pace of just 0.2% in February, property website Rightmove reported, the slowest rate since 2009. But on a monthly basis, house price growth accelerated to 0.7% from 0.4% previously.

No major economic releases are scheduled in the UK, nor on the Continent.

Oil prices were driving higher, with Brent crude climbing above $66.5 a barrel.

Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com, said: "It looks like OPEC cuts are working, with high compliance with production curbs so far in 2019. Moreover, as previously noted, Saudi Arabia has said it's prepared to cut harder. Meanwhile the rebound in stocks and improved risk sentiment seems to be helping on the demand side."

Shares in the travel sector were leading the fallers as new broke over the weekend that low-cost airline Flybmi had collapsed. IAG, Easyjet and Wizz Air were all in the red.

Michael Hewson of CMC Markets observed: "The company blamed Brexit uncertainty as well as higher costs, however the reality is if you can't fill your aircraft then it's hard to stay in business, and with capacity rates below the average the sector is set to remain under pressure."

Barclays was slightly lower as US hedge fund Tiger Global has sold its entire stake in Barclays, just days before the bank's results.

Pearson shares rose and then fell as the education group sold its US K12 courseware business to Nexus Capital Management for $250m (£193.6m). Total proceeds comprise an initial cash payment of $25m and an unconditional vendor note for $225m expected to be repaid in three to seven years.

Coca‑Cola HBC was in looking a little flat as it bought Serbian confectionery business Bambi for €260m (£227m). Bambi makes a range of products including biscuits, wafers and savoury snacks. The company's brands include Bambi, Plazma, Wellness, Zlatni Pek, and Josh.

Also lower was Galliford Try despite agreeing a £275m deal to build 470 new homes and a new council headquarters building in Ealing, London as well as finally handing over the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route project.

Going the other way, Reckitt Benckiser led the pack as the Dettol and Strepsils maker reports a strong finish to 2018 and said it expects that momentum to continue into 2019.

Engineer Spirax-Sarco said it was in talks to buy France's Thermocoax from its privater equity owners for €158m (£139m) on a cash-free and debt-free basis.



Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,218.89 -0.25%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,024.55 0.20%
techMARK (TASX) 3,531.98 0.05%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 6,172.00p 2.58%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,170.00p 2.42%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 825.60p 2.05%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 1,704.50p 1.46%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 250.20p 1.09%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 882.60p 1.08%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 171.75p 1.03%
Fresnillo (FRES) 979.40p 1.01%
BT Group (BT.A) 233.40p 0.95%
Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) 235.90p 0.92%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 652.20p -1.75%
Compass Group (CPG) 1,719.50p -1.38%
BAE Systems (BA.) 520.80p -1.18%
Centrica (CNA) 136.05p -1.09%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,265.50p -1.02%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 2,830.50p -1.00%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 2,538.00p -0.94%
Pearson (PSON) 912.20p -0.91%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 1,743.00p -0.91%
Hiscox Limited (DI) (HSX) 1,542.33p -0.88%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Indivior (INDV) 118.20p 4.28%
Vivo Energy (VVO) 134.14p 3.68%
Convatec Group (CTEC) 121.90p 2.83%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 787.03p 2.74%
Premier Oil (PMO) 79.13p 2.37%
Contour Global (GLO) 171.60p 2.20%
Greene King (GNK) 614.81p 1.76%
Aveva Group (AVV) 3,066.00p 1.73%
Acacia Mining (ACA) 219.80p 1.62%
Inmarsat (ISAT) 368.90p 1.54%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Plus500 Ltd (DI) (PLUS) 881.00p -4.40%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 391.15p -2.29%
Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 3,166.00p -1.80%
FirstGroup (FGP) 94.40p -1.62%
CYBG (CYBG) 186.70p -1.48%
Clarkson (CKN) 2,365.00p -1.46%
Domino's Pizza Group (DOM) 243.70p -1.42%
Apax Global Alpha Limited (APAX) 140.50p -1.40%
BlackRock Smaller Companies Trust (BRSC) 1,319.00p -1.20%
JPMorgan Indian Investment Trust (JII) 655.16p -1.03%

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