UK stocks open 0.1% lower as US-China optimism fades

Wed, 4th Dec 2019

UK stocks drifted lower in early trading on Wednesday after Donald Trump said a trade deal with China might have to wait until after the 2020 US presidential election. At 0848, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 5.43 points, or less than 0.1%, at 7.153.33. Rio Tinto shed 0.3% to £41.635 as it halted mining operations at Richards Bay Minerals in South Africa due to violence in surrounding communities that saw one worker shot and seriously injured. The move prompted the mining giant to downgrade its titanium output forecast to the bottom end of its current guidance range. Vodafone fell 0.9% to 144.48p after announcing that it would partner with with Amazon to offer cloud computing services to businesses in Europe. Supermarket chain Morrisons added 0.4% to 196.25p as it promoted Trevor Strain to the role chief operating officer, firming him up as the favourite to succeed chief executive David Potts. Advertising company M&C Saatchi plunged 43% to 84.17 after hitting investors with a barrage of bad news, including that it would make adjustments of £11.6m to its results owing to accounting errors. The company also warned of a substantial fall in underlying profits due to weaker trading conditions and said it would restructure its London office. Fashion retailer Quiz slumped 8.8% to 15.25, having swung to a first-half loss, as sales slipped and it wrote down the value of its stores. Central Europe focused spirits producer Stock Spirits rose 2.6% to 193.2 on reporting a 25% rise in annual profit, boosted by strong vodka sales in Poland and rum sales in the Czech Republic. Toy supplier Character shed 7.2% to 385p as it booked a fall in profits, as the demise of Scandinavian retailer Top Toy continued to weigh on demand. Cafe, bar and restaurant group Loungers rose 2.8% to 203p after the rollout of more sites helped boost its revenue and narrow its losses. Wagering group Webis rallied 15% to 1.38p as it secured an extension of its Cal Expo harness racing operations through to 2025. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com

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