London treads water as it feels Asian market effect
THE London market was broadly flat, despite a strong rally from supermarket Morrisons following a tie-up with US online retail giant Amazon.
The deal for the FT SE 250 supermarket to supply groceries to Amazon Prime and Amazon Pantry customers sent shares in the UK firm up 6 per cent, in a move that puts increasing pressure on a sector that has already seen prices fall for more than 18 months.
However, the FTSE 100 Index was up just 1.08 points to 6097.09 after market falls in Asia and inconclusive talks at the G20 meeting of finance ministers in Shanghai over t he weekend. Top-flight shares, however, gained ground after opening some 60 points lower.
In Europe, Germany’s Dax was 0.2 per cent down, while the Cac 40 in France lifted 0.6 per cent.
Miners were among the biggest risers, while the price of Brent Crude jumped by more than a dollar to over 36 US dollars a barrel. Anglo American was up 29.7p to 480.3p, with Glencore rising 5p at 133.3p.
The pound lifted a cent against the euro at 1.28, after inflation in the eurozone region fell back to minus 0.2 per cent in February from 0.3 per cent last month.
Brexit fears had pushed sterling to seven-year lows last week. The pound was also a cent higher against the US dollar at just over 1.39.
In stocks, Morrisons was up 11.1p to 199p as the grocer’ s chief executive David Potts said the combination of his firm’s “fresh food expertise and Amazon’s online and logistics capa- bilities is compelling”. The UK’s biggest supermarket Tesco saw shares fall more than 2 per cent, or 3.8p, to 179.9p in response to the announcement that could shake up the industry.
FTSE 250 online grocer Ocado tumbled almost 8 per cent, or 22p to 260p, after its 25- year agreement with Morrisons became clouded as a result of the Bradford-based retailer’ s new deal with Amazon. Asia-focused bank Standard
Chartered 1/ 2p to 4301/ 2p, slipped on mounting speculation that China may devalue its currency further in order to kickstart its economy.
Elsewhere, Daily Mirror publisher Trinity Mirror saw its share
2p to 157.3p after price rise 41/ posting a better- than- expected profits fall.
The group said pre- tax profits fell 18 per cent to £ 67.2m, amid print circulation and advertising declines in common with much of there st of the newspaper industry. The publisher - which also launched new daily newspaper the New Day - confirmed it had set aside £29 mt ode al with fines related to the phone hacking court cases it faces.
Insurance giant Hiscox said it was boosted by fewer global catastrophes despite seeing profits fall. The London- listed firm reported a 6.5 per cent dip in annual pre-tax profits to £216.1 m, as it was hit by shrinking investment returns. Chief executive Bronek Masojada said “Our strategy continues to deliver good growth with our retail businesses contributing 50 percent of income .” Shares slipped 88p to 973p.
Out sourcer Bunzl bolstered profits in the face of “challenging” economic conditions and a weaker performance in Brazil. The firm saw annual pre-tax profits lift to £ 322.7m, fuelled partly by acquisitions. Shares fell 2p to 1933p.
The biggest risers in the FTSE 100
Index were Anglo American up 29.7p to 480.3p, Intu Properties up 12p to 300.2p, Burberry Group up 51p to 1320p and Glen
core 5p up at 133.3p. The biggest faller in the FTSE 100 Index was London Stock
Exchange down 139p at 2678p.