UK stocks opened lower on Wednesday as protests in Hong Kong against a controversial China extraditions bill intensified, while US-China trade tensions lingered.

The benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 27.02 points, or 0.4%, at 7.371.43.

British American Tobacco (BATS) fell 2.8% to £29.84 as it guided for revenue growth in its new category business, which includes vaping, at 'around the middle' of a 30-50% range.

With smoking in decline and the industry facing tougher regulation, the firm has been investing heavily in the development of Next Generation Products (NGPs), designed to give smokers less harmful alternatives to cigarettes.

PEPSI CEO APPOINTMENT FALLS FLAT

Consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser (RB.) fell 1.4% to £63.05 on revealing that it had appointed Pepsi executive Laxman Narasimhan as its new chief executive to succeed Rakesh Kapoor.

Narasimhan becomes the first outsider to take on the top job since the company was formed in 1999 from the merger of UK firm Reckitt & Colman and Dutch company Benckiser.

Online retailer Boohoo (BOO) shed 3.5% to 222p despite booking a 39% jump in first-quarter revenue to £254.3m and leaving its full-year guidance unchanged.

Thanks to its fast-fashion business model, whereby it can test new concepts and quickly produce the ones that have the best response from customers, the company has been able to buck the trend of declining sales in the wider fashion sector.

NEW WARNING FOR CAR DEALER

Auto dealer Pendragon (PDG) slumped 25% to 17.3p on a warning that it expected to post an underlying loss for the year, owing to lax demand, high stock levels and rising costs.

Sirius Minerals (SXX), which is building a fertilizer project in Yorkshire, gained 0.6% to 16p on news that it had inked a supply agreement with the Indian Farmers Fertilisers Cooperative.

Technology component manufacturer Senior (SNR) fell 1.4% to 230.6p despite announcing that it has opened a new aerospace manufacturing facility in Malaysia.

Pawnbroker Ramsdens (RFX) added 1.2% to 172p after higher jewellery sales helped it eke out a 2.9% rise in annual profit.

Voucher company Park (PARK) fell 0.6% to 68p on the back of a 10% fall in annual profit, driven by lower sales in its consumer business.

Industrial and commercial equipment supplier HC Slingsby (SLNG) slumped 13% to 85p on announcing that its earnings had been pressured by lower sales growth in April and May, pinned on Brexit uncertainty.


Issue Date: 12 Jun 2019