FTSE watch: Blue-chip index losses form amid Brexit uncertainty

FTSE watch: Blue-chip index losses form amid Brexit uncertainty
Written by:
Alison Bishop
31st August 2018

The FTSE 100 has struggled this morning, dropping almost immediately from its opening position of 7516.03. It has risen back up some way during the course of early trading but is not demonstrating any sign of making up the ground lost upon opening and proving very volatile.

The blue-chip index is currently trading at 7491.38, down 0.37 per cent, as of BST12.48, having opened up 0.40% at 7629.30p.

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European Indices reflecting Brexit apprehension

Its plight is indicative of a dip across the European indices, with Dax in Frankfurt and the Cac 40 in Paris also down this morning. Much is weighted on the unfolding Brexit negotiations. BBC News has quoted German finance minister Olaf Scholz’s comments to a banking conference saying, “It is difficult to say” whether an agreement will be reached, not assisting the apprehension experienced by investors.

Elsewhere, US president Donald Trump has continued to wobble markets with his latest, threat to pull out of the WTO if it doesn’t ‘shape up’ and reiterating his intention to progress with a hiking of tariffs on Chinese imports, as reported by Bloomberg.

Sage Group part with Chief Executive

Sage group has announced the departure of its Chief Executive Stephen Kelly this morning, after disappointing growth figures, with shares falling by 50.4 pence (7.81%) to 595.20 as of BST 11.10. The shortfall in revenue had been blamed on ‘inconsistent operational execution’ but investors have been troubled by the emergence of more cost-effective competition, as reported by Invezz  last week.

Royal Mail shares take a knock

Royal Mail (LON: RMG ) have been amongst the big fallers on the benchmark index today, with shares currently standing at 450.74 pence, down 0.46 (0.10%) as of BST11.23 and significantly down by 2.66 pence from it’s opening position of 453.40. The distribution company, which was recently fined GBP50 million by Ofcom for breaching competition law and is due to make its final dividend payment of 16.30 pence per share today, having seen an annual rise in payments year on year.

Whitbread cash in on Costa sale

Whitbread shares have soared by 17% following news of its sale of the Costa Coffee chain to Coca Cola for BGP3.9 billion. The hotel and restaurant giant had been considering demerging but the Coca-Cola deal represented to good an offer to refuse according to Chief Executive Alison Brittain, as reported by Alliance News.

Broker ratings

Analysts have been busy this morning with Goldman Sachs cutting CRH’s price target to EU34.50 ‘BUY’ from EU35.00 and Morgan Stanley have cut ITV’s target price to 210 pence ‘Equal-weight’ from 230 pence ‘Overweight’. JP Morgan have raised WM Morrison Supermarkets target by 25 pence to 240 pence.

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