Leading UK stocks were pulled down by mining and bank stocks in early trade on Thursday, while Unilever (ULVR), which supplies all sorts of everyday goods we all use, like butter and tea, warned that inflation pressure could last far longer than many anticipate.

The consumer brands firm saw its share price rise nearly 2% to £38.905 early on as its third quarter numbers proved to be resilient, with sales up 2.5% and margins seen to be holding ‘broadly level’ for the full year despite elevated cost pressures.

The group has been raising prices to defend margins against a sea of higher costs, but for the time being, there is apparent relief that price rises are not forcing bigger volume reductions.

At 9am, the benchmark FTSE 100 was around 0.3% down at 7,201.29, with miners Rio Tinto (RIO), BHP (BHP) and Anglo American (AAL) down between 3% and 4%.

Anglo American lost 3.3% at £27.435 despite reporting a 2% rise in third-quarter overall production. Miners appear to be getting hit by fresh worries about the heavily indebted Chinese property developer China Evergrande after it said it abandoned a $2.6 billion sale of a stake in a subsidiary and that it had made no progress on other sales.

OVERSEAS OVERNIGHT

Asian stocks slipped on Thursday as the upbeat mood that carried the Dow Jones and bitcoin to records a day earlier ran out of steam, replaced by fresh worries about the weakening Chinese property sector as a possible default by China Evergrande looms within days.

In New York, the Dow, S&P and Russell Small Cap 2000 all finished up overnight, although tech stocks took a breather, the Nasdaq Composite a fraction off.

Tesla said upcoming factories and supply-chain headwinds would put pressure on margins after it beat Wall Street expectations for third-quarter revenue on the back of record deliveries in a statement after the close ion Wednesday.

Tesla saw its stock ease off recent records to nudge around 1% lower to $858.99 in after-hours trading.

Barclays (BARC) might have hoped for a better market response to its best ever set of third-quarter results, which revealed £2 billion of profit as its investment banking arm boomed.

Yet the bank’s shares slipped close to 1% lower at 196.62p, with analysts noting that expectations were already high among investors and suggested the share’s move lower was ‘profit taking’.

STOCKS ON THE MOVE

Metrology equipment maker Renishaw (RSW) jumped 5.5% to £48.94 after reporting a near 146% rise in profit.

Spectris (SXS) gained 1% to £37.64 after reporting a rise in sales in the third quarter of the year, though maintained its expectations for the full year.

Relx (RELX) rose 1.3% to £22.44 after the analytics services company upgraded its outlook on annual performance after reporting underlying revenue growth in the first nine months of the year.

Babcock (BAB) was down 1.8% as the defence company said it had completed the sale of Frazer-Nash to KBR for £293 million in cash.

Pest control company Rentokil (RTO) slipped 2.4% to 589.20p after reporting a slight rise in revenue in the third quarter, as weakness in its disinfection services weighed on growth.

Transport company FirstGroup (FGP) rose 1.9% to 91.59p after confirming the sale of Greyhound Lines to its subsidiary FlixMobility in a deal worth $172 million, completing its stated strategy to focus on its leading UK public transport businesses.

Find out how to deal online from £1.50 in a SIPP, ISA or Dealing account.

Issue Date: 21 Oct 2021