London open: Stocks fall as jitters set in ahead of Trump conference

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Friday 29 May 2020

London open: Stocks fall as jitters set in ahead of Trump conference

(Sharecast News) - London stocks fell in early trade on Friday amid growing tensions between the US and China.
At 0835 BST, the FTSE 100 was down 0.8% at 6,170.96 as jitters set in after US President Donald Trump announced he would be holding a press conference on Friday "on China" but gave no further details.

Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said: "With China's parliament rubber-stamping the new national security laws set to be imposed on Hong Kong, sending armed police to swarm the streets of the administrative region in an attempt to combat pro-democracy protests, Donald Trump has promised to hold a press conference this Friday.

"It will potentially outline the actions the President is set to take against China, the said same vague actions he threatened if China passed the security laws earlier in the week.

"This has been seen by investors as a step towards escalation, especially since the impending press conference was preceded on Wednesday by the House passing a bill condemning China's detention and torture of Uighur Muslims."

In equity markets, aerospace and defence giant Rolls-Royce was the worst performer on the FTSE 100 after Standard & Poor's downgraded its long and short-term credit ratings to BB and B, respectively, with a negative outlook.

On the upside, AstraZeneca rallied as the pharmaceuticals company said a clinical trial of its Tagrisso drug to treat non-small cell lung cancer reduced the risk of disease recurrence or death by approximately 80%.

B&M European Value Retail was the standout gainer on the FTSE 250 after it reported a rise in sales in the first eight weeks of the new fiscal year as locked-down Britons took advantage of the sunny weather to do home repairs and gardening during the coronavirus crisis. Like-for-like sales rose 22.7% in the period, while the company also reported a strong end to fourth quarter sales as customers packed into stores during the wave of panic buying in March to stockpile groceries, driving a 6.6% rise.

In broker note action, Rio Tinto was boosted by an upgrade to 'buy' at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, while Direct Line was higher after an upgrade to 'overweight' at Barclays.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,170.96 -0.77%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 17,188.23 -0.87%
techMARK (TASX) 3,762.41 -0.13%

FTSE 100 - Risers

AstraZeneca (AZN) 8,965.00p 3.07%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 2,139.00p 1.76%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 4,350.00p 1.43%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 912.00p 1.33%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 2,603.00p 1.09%
Auto Trader Group (AUTO) 551.40p 0.92%
National Grid (NG.) 934.60p 0.80%
Severn Trent (SVT) 2,451.00p 0.78%
Pennon Group (PNN) 1,144.50p 0.66%
Sage Group (SGE) 696.60p 0.52%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 293.70p -7.93%
Next (NXT) 4,844.00p -4.68%
Carnival (CCL) 1,133.50p -4.27%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 237.20p -3.73%
ITV (ITV) 81.32p -3.44%
M&G (MNG) 145.10p -3.27%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 30.36p -3.27%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 121.75p -3.26%
Prudential (PRU) 1,047.50p -3.23%
easyJet (EZJ) 716.80p -3.14%

FTSE 250 - Risers

B&M European Value Retail S.A. (DI) (BME) 387.90p 5.01%
Rank Group (RNK) 142.80p 4.85%
Pollen Street Secured Lending (PSSL) 712.00p 3.19%
Caledonia Investments (CLDN) 2,720.00p 2.84%
Convatec Group (CTEC) 206.60p 1.57%
Softcat (SCT) 1,152.00p 1.50%
Sanne Group (SNN) 678.00p 1.50%
Bakkavor Group (BAKK) 78.00p 1.43%
Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 273.40p 1.26%
Edinburgh Worldwide Inv Trust (EWI) 250.50p 1.21%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 479.20p -7.95%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 168.55p -7.39%
Frasers Group (FRAS) 301.20p -6.11%
Hammerson (HMSO) 73.00p -5.59%
Investec (INVP) 155.35p -5.30%
Aggreko (AGK) 479.20p -5.11%
Virgin Money UK (VMUK) 95.28p -4.91%
Helios Towers (HTWS) 158.20p -4.81%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 206.50p -4.27%
Stagecoach Group (SGC) 69.65p -4.26%


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