Latest twist in trade war saga weighs on UK and European markets

  • Wed 25 Jul 2018 16:43

    Ongoing concerns about a US-driven trade war came back to haunt the markets again. Miners and industrial companies weighed on the FTSE 100, together with weakness among UK banks. The blue chip index closed 0.7% lower at 7,658.

    US president Donald Trump issued a new threat to the EU just before a meeting with European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker at the White House, suggesting the EU stood in the way of free trade.

    European markets followed the FTSE lower although US markets fared slightly better with a 0.3% rise in the Nasdaq at 4.35pm UK time. Asia was stronger with a near-1% gain in Hong Kong's Hang Seng index and a 0.5% gain in Japan's Nikkei 225 index.

    On the currencies front, the pound was flat against the dollar at $1.3147. Oil prices moved up 0.8% to $74 for the Brent Crude product. Gold slipped 0.3% to $1,228.

    LARGE AND MID CAP MOVERS

    GlaxoSmithKline posted better than expected quarterly results and raised 2018 earnings guidance, although it wasn't enough to stop its share price falling 0.9% to £15.42.

    Britain's biggest free-to-air commercial broadcaster ITV announced plans to launch a direct-to-consumer proposition, putting it in direct competition with Netflix and Amazon.

    The news came alongside what the company hailed as 'fantastic' first half with hit shows like 'Love Island' helping revenue to rise 8% to £1.59bn. ITV said interim profits rose to £265m from £259m last year while total advertising sales rose 2% in the six months to 30 June, with 48% growth in online.

    But management enthusiasm wasn't matched by investors, with ITV's share price only managing a 0.9% rise to 172p.

    Drugs developer Indivior saw its share price crash 7.7% to 307.7p after suffering from a rival launching a generic version of its opioid addiction treatment. The company posted its second straight drop in quarterly profit and said the adverse impact on its full year net revenue could be $25m or significantly more.

    Vodafone slipped 1.4% to 175.1p thanks to a slowdown in first quarter organic service revenue. This was largely because of tough trading in Italy and Spain.

    Vodafone's sales fell 4.9% to €10.9bn for the three months to the 30 June with the group also blaming adverse currency moves and the adoption of different accounting standards. Mobile data traffic soared 57% while Vodafone confirmed that its preferred measure of full year profits would rise between 1% and 5%.

    A broker upgrade helped to lift value retailer B&M 3.5% to 425.4p; and analyst comment was behind the 4.6% fall in InterContinental Hotels to £46.70.

    Budget airline Wizz Air trimmed its full year capacity growth forecast from 20% to 18% as it expected disruptions related to European air traffic control issues to continue into autumn. Its shares fell 8.5% to £32.56.

    Africa-focused explorer Tullow Oil said it would use its $401m first half free cash flow to pay down debt and invest rather than pay a dividend. Investors welcomed the decision with the stock up 3.1% to 223.7p.

    SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

    The World Cup and the recent heatwave helped to boost sales at pubs group Marston's, although progress was modest. The company reported like-for-like sales 0.9% ahead in the 16 weeks to 21 July. The shares fell 3.4% to 94.55p.

    Esports group Gfinity shot up 5.1% to 13p after striking a content and marketing partnership with Domino's. It was also good news for shareholders in APC Technology as the electronics business raised £2.5m at a small premium to last night's closing price in order to buy Aspen, a premium distributor of electronic components.

    Alliance Pharma scaled back large share price losses at the market open to trade only 1.7% down at 92.4p at the market close. Investors were spooked by its trading update which said profits would increase at a lower rate than sales due to marketing activities.

    Finally, automotive engineer Ricardo took a knock after saying full year pre-tax profit would be towards the lower end of analyst forecasts as a result of weak UK orders. Its shares traded 12.4% lower at 820p.

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B&M European Value Retail (BME)

408.60p +2.70p (+0.67%) delayed 14:17PM
Price delayed by 15 minutes.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)

1,601.90p +11.50p (+0.72%) delayed 14:17PM
Price delayed by 15 minutes.

Indivior (INDV)

278.00p -7.70p (-2.70%) delayed 14:17PM
Price delayed by 15 minutes.

ITV (ITV)

166.08p +2.48p (+1.52%) delayed 14:17PM
Price delayed by 15 minutes.

Vodafone Group (VOD)

175.63p +0.61p (+0.35%) delayed 14:17PM
Price delayed by 15 minutes.