A sharp drop in demand for residential property sends housebuilders into a spin during early trading on the stock market in London.

The FTSE 100 is down 0.8% at 6,253 on the back of choppy overnight trading which saw losses in Tokyo and gains in New York.

European markets also trade lower this morning.

In London, all eyes are on Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) data which reports demand for UK residential property in May fell at its fastest rate since the financial crisis.

The drop-off in May could be because of a surge of buying in March and April ahead of changes to the tax treatment of investment properties, says RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn.

Leading the blue chip index lower is Taylor Wimpey (TW.), down 3.5% to 183p. Not far behind are fellow house builders Berkeley (BKG), down 3.2% at £31.37, Persimmon (PSN), down 2.0% at £19.84 and Barratt Developments (BDEV), down 1.9% at 557p.

Mid cap builder Bellway (BWY) is not immune either, despite a bullish trading update today, slipping 2.7% to £26.00.

Telco Vodafone (VOD) is down slightly on plans to merge its New Zealand business with New Zealand-listed SKY Network Television (NZE:SKT).


The deal involves Sky issuing new shares to Vodafone at a 21% premium to its closing price on 8 June. Vodafone will receive a NZ$1.25 billion (£616 million) cash payment from Sky and maintain a 51% interest in the combined entity.

Shares in the Auckland-based outfit surged 17.5% overnight.

Vodafone dips 1.1% after adjusting for going ex-dividend on a 7.8p shareholder payout.

Elsewhere, FTSE 350 distributor and packaging specialist Essentra (ESNT) sinks 30.1% to 580p as it flags soft trading in the first half of the year.

Weakness in its filter products business means revenue is likely to be flat year-on-year and operating profit a little lower, despite previous expectations of significant growth on the back of acquisition-led strategy.

Upholstered furniture and floorings seller ScS (SCS) skips 4.42% higher to 194.75p as another positive trading update stokes earnings upgrades. CEO David Knight says trading through the two May Bank Holidays exceeded expectations and now reckons annual profits will beat forecasts which have already been significantly upgraded during the current year.

Argos-owner Home Retail (HOME), whose takeover by Sainsbury's (SBRY) completes in the third quarter of the calendar year, softens 0.3p to 160.7p despite a decent first quarter trading update. News its financial services customer redress provison may need to be beefed up by roughly £30 million lies behind the fall. Shrugging off poor weather, Argos delivered its strongest sales growth performance in eight quarters over the 13 weeks to 28 May, with digital sales accounting for almost half the top line total.

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Online second hand car marketplace Auto Trader (AUTO) is up 2.3% to 411.8p as full year results, reflecting its first year as a public company, reveal a big advance in revenue and profit. Revenue is up 10% to £281.6 million in the March 2016 financial year and operating profit increases 27% to £169.6 million. A proposed dividend of 1p per share brings the total dividend for the year to 1.5p. Read our web story exclusive here.

A profit warning sends testing kit-maker Immunodiagnostic Systems (IDH:AIM) 11% lower to 132.5p after losing a client described as a ‘global healthcare group’. June 22’s prelims should make interest reading.

Blood monitor-maker Deltex Medical (DEMG:AIM) climbs 9% to 4.7p as it wins two new clients, which operate across several hospitals in the US. There was also a positive update with probe sales in the country 50% higher in the five months to May 31 than a year earlier.

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Health monitoring kit maker CloudTag (CTAG:AIM) soars 28% to 5.78p as investors cheer commercial progress spelled out in a trading update. As well as shipping the last of orders to several large retail outlets, the company unveils potentially landmark talks with online retail giant Amazon (AMZN:NDQ), which could involve support for a much bigger sales and marketing push down the line.

Polythene film specialist British Polythene Industries (BPI) soars 32% to 954.5p on news plastic products firm RPC (RPC) is to acquire the company in a cash and share deal, valuing it at £261 million. RPC, whose shares rise 2.1% to 832.5p, says the deal is in line with its strategy to consolidate European markets and will be accretive to earnings per share within the first full financial year. Read our web story exclusive here.

Gaming and technology microcap Webis (WEB:AIM) surges 17.5% to 1.7p after its WatchandWager business extends its contract to operate Cal Expo Harness Racing - the only live harness racing track in California - through to 2021. Racing at Cal Expo is scheduled to resume in early October.

Consumer products play PZ Cussons (PZC) loses 2.9p at 329.9p on the cautious tenor of the outlook statement in its year-end trading update. The Imperial Leather soap-to-St Tropez self-tan supplier says trading conditions in key market Nigeria 'are expected to continue to be challenging, with a range of potential outcomes for the new financial year dependent on the translational and transactional impacts' of moves in the naira exchange rate. For more on the risks facing, PZ Cussons, view our news story from Friday here.

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Issue Date: 09 Jun 2016