Alexander Bueso Sharecast | 21 Aug, 2017 17:15 - Updated: 17:15 | | |
London stocks ended on a mixed note at the start of the week as investors remained cautious amid geopolitical tensions.
The FTSE 100 was marginally lower, slipping 0.07% or 5.10 points to close at 7,318.88, while the pound was up 0.2% versus the dollar at 1.2900.
In parallel, the second-tier index finished the session up by 0.10% or 20.44 points to 19,646.90.
Investors put their concerns about North Korea to one side last week following events in Washington and terrorist attacks in Spain, but with US and South Korea holding military exercises this week, renewed jitters were expected to set in.
IG analyst David Madden said: "Tensions between the US and North Korea are still simmering away in the background. The two nations are locked in a stalemate, and this week we will see the US and South Korea engage in their 10-day military exercises. The annual exercise always angers the North Korean regime, this time the stakes are higher given the current environment."
Market participants were also keeping an eye on developments across the pond after US President Trump fired divisive chief strategist Steve Bannon on Friday and ahead of the US Federal Reserve's annual symposium at Jackson Hole, which kicks off on Thursday.
Back in the UK, Rightmove said overnight that house prices fell 0.9% in August, marking their biggest month-on-month decline of the year. On an annual basis, prices ticked up 3.1% from a 2.8% increase the month before. Meanwhile, the average house price fell to £313,663 from £317,421 in July.
In corporate news, Rathbone Brothers's confirmation that it was in exclusive merger talks with stockbroker Smith & Williamson failed to give the stock a boost, while TBC Bank was in the black after posting a rise in interim profit.
Hikma Pharmaceuticals was boosted by an upgrade to 'hold' from 'underperform' at Jefferies.
On the downside, Provident Financial was the biggest faller on the FTSE following an article in the Sunday Times suggesting that some of the city's most powerful hedge funds have built up significant short positions in the subprime lender amid speculation it is set to issue another profit warning and cut its dividend.
Real estate investment trust Shaftesbury finished flat after saying it has entered into a contract with PMB Holdings to acquire a long-leasehold interest in 90-104 Berwick Street, London W1, at £38.5m, while British Land lost ground as HSBC cut the stock to 'hold' from 'buy'.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 2,243.00p 3.17%
Pearson (PSON) 619.00p 2.31%
Persimmon (PSN) 2,559.00p 1.51%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,990.00p 1.27%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,367.50p 1.22%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,295.00p 1.17%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 954.50p 1.17%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 195.00p 1.14%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 64.57p 1.03%
Imperial Brands (IMB) 3,197.50p 0.88%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Provident Financial (PFG) 1,742.00p -5.94%
Shire Plc (SHP) 3,613.00p -4.02%
St James's Place (STJ) 1,172.00p -1.43%
Barclays (BARC) 193.25p -1.23%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,324.00p -1.19%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,515.00p -1.17%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 254.80p -1.05%
Centrica (CNA) 199.50p -1.04%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 264.30p -0.94%
British Land Company (BLND) 605.50p -0.90%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 1,172.00p 4.74%
Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (MLC) 464.90p 4.07%
Fisher (James) & Sons (FSJ) 1,512.00p 3.77%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 432.20p 3.52%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 157.20p 3.22%
TBC Bank Group (TBCG) 1,600.00p 2.56%
Just Group (JUST) 152.60p 2.42%
NMC Health (NMC) 2,385.00p 2.36%
Sanne Group (SNN) 745.50p 2.26%
Kaz Minerals (KAZ) 731.50p 2.16%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 262.80p -2.52%
Pets at Home Group (PETS) 183.70p -2.49%
Carillion (CLLN) 49.58p -2.02%
Mitie Group (MTO) 266.40p -1.99%
Virgin Money Holdings (UK) (VM.) 268.00p -1.80%
IP Group (IPO) 132.00p -1.79%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 682.00p -1.66%
Balfour Beatty (BBY) 269.10p -1.61%
Vectura Group (VEC) 108.50p -1.54%
Aldermore Group (ALD) 225.30p -1.53%
Stocks on the Continent finished mostly higher on the back of strong survey readings on the euro area's manufacturing and services sector and ahead of the German general elections at the weekend, although fresh barbs from Pyongyang were a drag on sentiment.
Thousands of steel workers gathered in Western Germany on Friday to protest the proposed merger of ThyssenKrupp and Tata Steel's European operations which was expected to result in approximately 4,000 job losses.
London stocks had reversed earlier losses to trade a little higher by Friday's close, helped along by a weaker pound as investors weighed up a key speech by Prime Minister Theresa May.
Polish Deputy Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced on Friday that US bank JP Morgan Chase had picked Warsaw to play host to its new global operations centre, bringing thousands of jobs to the region from the beginning of 2018.
The FTSE 250 index was on the front foot on Friday, led by retailer Pets at Home and a group of oil-related companies.
In a speech in Florence on Friday, Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed that she wanted a two-year "implementation period" post-Brexit and a new treaty with the European Union on security and justice.
London's FTSE 100 was up 0.6% to 7,305.66 in afternoon trade on Friday as investors mulled over PM Theresa May's Brexit speech in Florence.
15:39 Results round-up
Saga, the specialist provider of products and services for those over 50, reported solid growth of 5.5% in underlying profits before tax for the first half as it ordered a second new cruise ship amid high demand.
Business activity in the US picked up in September despite hurricanes Harvey and Irma, as growth in the manufacturing sector helped to offset an easing in services, according to preliminary data released on Friday.
Thalassa Holdings confirmed the suspension of its share buyback programme on Friday, as a suitor continued to circle the marine geoscience and subsea robotics company.