US-China ten­sions dampen trad­ing

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - Si­mon foy

UTIL­I­TIES and fi­nan­cials weighed on the FTSE 100 on a quiet trad­ing day as con­cerns over US-China ten­sions pressed down on global mar­kets.

En­ergy firm was the worst per­former on the blue-chip in­dex, clos­ing down 90p, or 6pc, at £13.38, af­ter the stock went ex-div­i­dend. This means new buy­ers no longer qual­ify for the lat­est pay­out.

Cen­trica, which was de­moted from the FTSE 100 last month, also slumped nearly 4pc ahead of its in­terim re­sults to­day, clos­ing down 1.5p at 40.4p, while water com­pany Pen­non dropped 41p to £10.54.

Soft­ware maker Sage ad­vanced 46.6p to 753.6p and miner Poly­metal In­ter­na­tional rose 104.5p to £18.12, rank­ing among the best-per­form­ing blue-chip stocks af­ter they both posted strong earn­ings.

Ro­bust re­sults from Unilever also pushed ri­val multi­na­tional con­sumer goods gi­ant Reckitt Benckiser firmly into the green, up 138p at £79.60.

Trad­ing sen­ti­ment was sub­dued through­out the ses­sion, but many mar­kets handed back their small gains in the af­ter­noon due to con­cerns about US-China ten­sions and mixed jobs data from the US. London’s top flight in­dex closed 4.34 points higher at 6,211.4. The mid-cap FTSE 250 edged up 0.1pc to 17,489.5, boosted by se­cu­rity con­trac­tor G4S af­ter it posted a higher-than-ex­pected first-half op­er­at­ing profit.

A raft of global stim­u­lus mea­sures and hopes of a Covid-19 vac­cine have put UK stock in­dexes on track for their fourth straight month of gains, but an­a­lysts re­main wary of geopo­lit­i­cal ten­sions and in­creased coron­avirus cases. Across the At­lantic, the Dow Jones and S&P 500 both fell as new US jobs data missed ex­pec­ta­tions, with job­less claims in­creas­ing from 1.3 mil­lion to 1.41 mil­lion.

The fig­ures rekin­dled con­cerns that the coun­try’s eco­nomic re­cov­ery has stalled as the spread of the virus across the coun­try wors­ens.

The S&P 500 slipped from a four-month high, as losses in tech­nol­ogy and con­sumer shares weighed on the in­dex.

The tech-heavy Nas­daq 100 also re­treated into the red for the week, eras­ing Mon­day’s rally that was the big­gest since April.

Google’s par­ent Al­pha­bet, Ama­zon and Ap­ple each lost more than 2pc, while Twit­ter jumped more than 4pc af­ter daily user growth surged.

Mean­while, the pound fell 0.3pc against the euro to €1.097 af­ter UK and EU ne­go­tia­tors said they are un­likely to reach an agree­ment on a post-Brexit trade deal be­fore July.

David Frost, the UK’s chief ne­go­tia­tor, said “con­sid­er­able gaps re­main in the most dif­fi­cult areas” af­ter the lat­est round of talks con­cluded in London.

Ster­ling has strug­gled this week on signs that talks be­tween the two sides have hit a road­block.

SSE

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