UK stocks had one of their worst days since May on Thursday as investors began to fret again over the global economic recovery amid a resurgence in Covid cases.

US markets were down but off their lows, while earlier in the day trading in Asia was weak following news that China's central bank was ready to inject extra liquidity to support the economy.

The SE Composite index dropped 0.9% and the Hang Seng fell nearly 3%, while similar losses were seen in Japan with the Nikkei 225 also losing almost 1%.

In Europe the European Central Bank agreed a new inflation target of 2% and said it would allow some ‘overshoot’, marking the biggest shift in policy since 2003.

At 4.45pm the FTSE 100 index of leading shares was down 120 points or 1.7% at 7,031 points, marginally above their intraday lows, due to weakness in mining shares, financials, consumer stocks and house builders.

CORPORATE ROUND UP

In a trading update ahead of its half year results to 30 June, housebuilder Persimmon (PSN) said revenues were 55% ahead year-on-year to £1.84 billion, driven by strong demand for homes across the UK. Shares were among the worst performers in the FTSE, dropping 4.8% to £29.23.

Pharma group AstraZeneca (AZN) said the US Food and Drug Administration had granted a priority review for its asthma drug Tezepelumab.

Priority reviews are given where a medicine has significant advantages over available options by demonstrating safety or efficacy improvements, preventing serious conditions, or enhancing patient compliance. The shares dipped 0.8% to £85.89.

UPPED GUIDANCE

In a pre-close trading update, gambling firm Entain (ENT) said first half net gaming revenues to 30 June grew 11% after gaining 42% in the second quarter.

The company said it now expected full year earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation to be ahead of consensus at between £850 million and £900 million. Having swung to a loss in the afternoon, shares were among the best performers in the FTSE by the close, rising 0.7% to £18.20.

Variety goods value retailer B&M European Value Retail (BME) said first quarter constant currency revenues to 26 June grew 3.1% to £1.2 billion, slower than the 27.7% seen last year.

The company said it had made a strong start to the new financial year with sales remaining significantly above pre-pandemic levels. Shares were the worst performers in the FTSE, dropping 5% to 549p.

Watches of Switzerland (WOSG) said full year revenues were up 13.3% in constant currencies and 11.7% reported to £905.1 million, while operating profit was 69.5% higher at £81.9 million.

Luxury watch sales increased by 16% during the period, representing 87.1% of the group’s revenue.

The company said trading had been strong since the year end and confirmed guidance for 2022 for revenues to be between £1.05 billion and £1.1 billion, up 16%-to-21%. Shares added 1.2% to 865p.

Real Estate company Great Portland Estates (GPOR) said leasing momentum was strong in the first quarter, as office rental demand continues to improve.

For the quarter to 30 June 2021, £12.7 million of new annual rent was signed, with market lettings 9.3% ahead of March 2021 estimated rent value.

The company said 86% of rent was collected in the quarter, surpassing the pace of collections seen in all four previous quarters. The shares dipped 0.6% to 735p.

Industrial and electronics products firm Electrocomponents (ECM) said first quarter like-for-like revenues grew 37% year-on-year.

For the full year to 31 March 2022 the company said it expected to deliver low double-digit to mid-teens like-for-like revenue growth and forecast a return to an adjusted operating profit margin around 2019/20 levels. The shares dropped 3.9% to £10.38.

3i Infrastructure (3IN) reported lower portfolio returns with total income for the period from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021 down 8% to £22 million.

The company declared a final dividend payment for fiscal 2021 of 4.9p per share, and said it was on track to deliver a fiscal 2022 dividend target of 10.45p per share, up 6.6% from FY21. The shares dipped 0.8% to 303p.

A full list of FTSE 100 movers can be seen HERE

 

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Issue Date: 08 Jul 2021