UK stocks opened weaker on Thursday following weaker trading in Asia after the Chinese central bank indicated its economy needed extra liquidity support.

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 9am the FTSE 100 index of leading shares was down 1.3% at 7,062 points, led by weakness in mining shares.


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. The shares dropped 3.7% to £29.71.

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 0.7% to £85.96.


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. The shares topped the FTSE 100 leader board, gaining 1.8% to £18.39.

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. The shares dropped 3%.

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%. The shares dropped 1.2% to 844.5p.

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 0.2% to 737p.

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 1.1% to £10.68.

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 0.3% to 308.52p.

A full list of FTSE 100 movers can be seen HERE


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

Issue Date: 08 Jul 2021