London open: Stocks edge lower as US stimulus deadline looms

Tue 20 Oct 2020

LONDON (SHARECAST) - (Sharecast News) - London stocks edged lower in early trade on Tuesday amid ongoing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and as investors grew doubtful that a US stimulus package will be agreed before the election.
At 0835 BST, the FTSE 100 was down 0.2% at 5,871.72.

Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said: "It feels like we are entering a potentially choppy period for the markets. The US presidential election is about to become more of a pronounced presence, especially since a lack of pre-vote stimulus package - Nancy Pelosi's 48-hour deadline ends tonight - means the outcome will dictate what kind of relief Americans receive.

"And at the same time the Covid-19 crisis is intensifying - and remember, we aren't in the acute months of winter yet either - with the ominous shuttering sounds of more restrictions in Europe joined by rising positivity rates in several prominent US states.

"Yesterday saw the markets swing from green to red, with the Dow staying there by the end of the session as it fell more than 400 points.

"And though they weren't as bad this morning, the European indices nevertheless struggled to find a reason not to slump even lower."

In corporate news, miner BHP lost ground after it reported a 7.2% rise in first-quarter iron ore production as demand from China stabilised, but warned of a slowdown in the current three month period.

IT infrastructure and services provider Softcat slumped after the release of its full-year results, while Trainline was weaker as it announced the departure of chief executive officer Clare Gilmartin.

On the upside, retailer Next was the standout gainer after an initiation at 'overweight' at Barclays, while shares of British Airways parent IAG were higher as one-hour Covid tests began at Heathrow airport.

Reckitt Benckiser rallied after lifting its full-year like-for-like net revenue guidance and posting a jump in third-quarter sales as the pandemic underpinned demand for its disinfection brands. Group sales on a like-for-like basis rose 13.3% in the third quarter to 3.5bn and 12.4% in the year to date to 10.4bn.

Housebuilder Bellway gained after it slashed its dividend as annual profits fell by 66% due to the coronavirus shutdown, but said reservations had risen by a third at the start of the new financial year.

Britvic fizzed higher as it said adjusted profit for 2020 is expected to be slightly ahead of current market consensus after better-than-expected trading over the summer. It also announced a new and exclusive bottling agreement with PepsiCo.

Vesuvius was up after the molten metal flow engineer announced the reinstatement of dividend payments, while Gamesys pushed higher after it hailed a "strong" and better-than-expected performance in the third quarter.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 5,871.72 -0.22%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 17,804.52 -0.34%
techMARK (TASX) 3,800.24 -0.20%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Next (NXT) 6,294.00p 2.08%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 102.00p 2.00%
Kingfisher (KGF) 319.20p 1.88%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 7,298.00p 1.30%
Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 3,200.00p 1.20%
SEGRO (SGRO) 923.20p 0.98%
Rightmove (RMV) 683.00p 0.98%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 2,491.00p 0.97%
DCC (DCC) 5,272.00p 0.80%
Whitbread (WTB) 2,272.00p 0.75%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 211.40p -3.91%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 520.50p -2.14%
British Land Company (BLND) 357.30p -1.98%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 528.40p -1.64%
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 924.40p -1.60%
BP (BP.) 204.45p -1.59%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 115.45p -1.58%
St James's Place (STJ) 917.40p -1.44%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 127.75p -1.43%
M&G (MNG) 164.50p -1.38%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Britvic (BVIC) 781.50p 4.13%
BlackRock Smaller Companies Trust (BRSC) 1,360.00p 3.34%
Law Debenture Corp. (LWDB) 538.00p 2.87%
LXI Reit (LXI) 109.00p 2.83%
Gamesys Group (GYS) 1,340.00p 2.13%
Caledonia Investments (CLDN) 2,635.00p 2.13%
Vivo Energy (VVO) 75.20p 1.90%
Herald Investment Trust (HRI) 1,880.00p 1.73%
Safestore Holdings (SAFE) 809.50p 1.38%
AO World (AO.) 304.00p 1.33%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Softcat (SCT) 1,086.00p -12.49%
Calisen (CLSN) 149.70p -10.25%
Trainline (TRN) 313.00p -6.01%
Capital & Counties Properties (CAPC) 111.30p -3.39%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 111.75p -2.95%
Network International Holdings (NETW) 303.80p -2.94%
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 1,626.00p -2.52%
Countryside Properties (CSP) 328.60p -2.49%
Capita (CPI) 25.88p -2.34%
John Laing Group (JLG) 289.20p -2.30%
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