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London open: Stocks nudge lower as sterling breaches $1.24

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Friday 13 Sep 2019

London open: Stocks nudge lower as sterling breaches $1.24

(Sharecast News) - London stocks nudged lower in early trade on Friday as the pound rallied, with investors still digesting the latest policy announcement from the European Central Bank.
At 0840 BST, the FTSE 100 was down 0.1% at 7,336.08, while the pound was up 0.7% against the dollar at 1.2415, breaching the $1.24 level for the first time since July - and 0.3% firmer versus the euro at 1.1180. Sterling was holding on to gains even as the Democratic Unionist Party dismissed an earlier report suggesting that it had softened its stance on a Northern Ireland-only backstop.

The Times had reported that the DUP was prepared to abide by some European rules after Brexit, saying the party had agreed to "shift its red lines" as part of a deal to replace the backstop.

Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said: "The market's post-ECB stimulus pop couldn't carry over into a second session. Instead the European indices started the session uniformly muted.

"It's hard to know whether this lack of substantial growth is related to the backlash Mario Draghi has faced over his plans, or, arguably more likely, the fact that such stimulus was already priced in."

As far as sterling is concerned, he suggested that Commons Speaker John Bercow's promise to "creatively" stop a no-deal Brexit if Prime Minister Boris Johnson decides to ignore the law could also be lending some support.

In corporate news, JD Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin hit out at "elite Remainers", accusing them of ignoring "the bigger picture" and the benefits of Brexit, as the pub chain posted a 7.4% increase in full-year sales but a 4.5% drop in profit before tax and exceptional items to £102.5m. Shares were a touch weaker.

Spirits company Diageo was in the red after Reuters reported on Thursday that unions were demanding a 5% pay rise for workers set to strike this month in Scotland.

IMI slumped as Berenberg initiated coverage of the stock at 'sell'.

On the upside, SSE was in the green after agreeing to sell its retail business to OVO Group for £500m, comprising £400m cash and £100m in loan notes. The proceeds will be used to cut debt.

Education publisher Pearson was the top riser on the FTSE 100 after an upgrade at UBS, while Fresnillo shone after an upgrade to 'outperform' at Macquarie and Britvic fizzed higher after an upgrade to 'buy' at Jefferies.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,336.08 -0.12%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,983.71 0.11%
techMARK (TASX) 3,830.75 -0.11%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Pearson (PSON) 880.40p 2.11%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 53.01p 2.06%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 201.65p 1.89%
Carnival (CCL) 3,817.00p 1.87%
SSE (SSE) 1,184.00p 1.76%
ITV (ITV) 122.25p 1.75%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 159.60p 1.62%
NMC Health (NMC) 2,857.00p 1.46%
Barclays (BARC) 151.10p 1.31%
Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) 271.80p 1.27%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Compass Group (CPG) 1,971.00p -1.97%
Diageo (DGE) 3,324.00p -1.67%
Relx plc (REL) 1,865.00p -1.61%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 2,666.00p -1.55%
Experian (EXPN) 2,488.00p -1.47%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 437.60p -1.20%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 5,378.00p -1.14%
Croda International (CRDA) 4,888.00p -1.09%
Unilever (ULVR) 4,954.00p -0.98%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 452.10p -0.90%

FTSE 250 - Risers

RHI Magnesita N.V. (DI) (RHIM) 4,362.00p 2.20%
Card Factory (CARD) 165.00p 2.04%
Stagecoach Group (SGC) 134.50p 1.89%
Britvic (BVIC) 916.50p 1.89%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 189.40p 1.88%
Ascential (ASCL) 384.40p 1.80%
Polypipe Group (PLP) 403.56p 1.65%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 204.10p 1.59%
Contour Global (GLO) 190.99p 1.59%
Kaz Minerals (KAZ) 445.41p 1.51%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

IMI (IMI) 976.20p -5.09%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 124.69p -4.09%
Vivo Energy (VVO) 126.00p -3.52%
Acacia Mining (ACA) 236.00p -2.48%
Sophos Group (SOPH) 392.60p -1.43%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,155.50p -1.24%
PPHE Hotel Group Ltd (PPH) 1,750.00p -1.13%
Restaurant Group (RTN) 137.90p -1.08%
McCarthy & Stone (MCS) 145.13p -1.07%
Capita (CPI) 143.39p -1.04%

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