Please enter company name or stock symbol

Advanced Search

London open: Stocks drop after three days of gains; housebuilders slump

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Friday 27 Mar 2020

LONDON (ShareCast) - (Sharecast News) - London stocks fell in early trade on Friday following three consecutive days of gains, with concerns about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic continuing to mount after the US overtook China for the most confirmed coronavirus cases.
At 0840 GMT, the FTSE 100 was down 3.1% at 5,633.85.

CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: "A weaker open after three days of gains is not altogether surprising against such an uncertain backdrop, as cases in the US rise above those in China, while the infection rate in Italy appears to be rising again.

"Against this sort of backdrop it is still way too early to sound the all clear, and while yesterday's rebound was welcome it takes no account of the fact that the infection count and death rate is likely to continue to rise sharply in the coming weeks, and that in any subsequent recovery, consumer incomes and confidence will take some time to recover."

Oanda analyst Craig Erlam said: "We may have had a good run this week but the weekend can feel like a long time at moments like this and the numbers were getting from the US, which now has more cases than China or Italy, are getting uglier by the day.

"It therefore strikes me as quite sensible to take some profit off the table and see how the weekend goes."

In equity markets, hotel chain InterContinental Hotels was the biggest loser, while housebuilders were under the cosh after several big names announced the closure of their sites this week, with Barratt Developments, Berkeley and Persimmon all lower.

Redrow became the latest to announce closures on Friday, of its sites and offices, as it said it was in talks with banks about securing more credit. Shares fell sharply.

Retailer Next was in the red as it said it had shut its online, warehousing and distribution operations overnight after staff expressed concerns about working during the coronavirus lockdown.

Infrastructure group Balfour Beatty lost ground after saying it has postponed the payment its final dividend and that the main members of its board have agreed to take a 20% pay cut due to the coronavirus.

Energy supplier SSE was weaker after saying earnings would be at the lower end of guidance given in January and that it would still pay its full-year dividend despite the impact of the coronavirus on markets.

Online real estate agent Rightmove retreated as it cancelled its dividend and pulled full-year guidance, while defence engineering firm Meggitt was down after pulling its final dividend to save cash as the coronavirus pandemic hit its aerospace market.

Industrial thread manufacturer Coats Group was down after scrapping its dividend and saying it expects revenues to slide due to the coronavirus.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 5,633.85 -3.13%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 15,021.47 -2.34%
techMARK (TASX) 3,276.04 -2.26%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Informa (INF) 486.50p 1.25%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 405.20p 0.00%
Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,138.50p -0.39%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 885.80p -0.43%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 5,942.00p -0.47%
Imperial Brands (IMB) 1,335.40p -0.65%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,294.50p -0.84%
Sage Group (SGE) 593.40p -1.10%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 510.40p -1.16%
Ferguson (FERG) 5,412.00p -1.24%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 3,480.00p -8.41%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 439.40p -8.09%
Carnival (CCL) 1,135.50p -8.06%
Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 865.50p -7.58%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 3,430.00p -7.17%
BHP Group (BHP) 1,193.40p -6.43%
BP (BP.) 316.90p -5.96%
Next (NXT) 4,243.00p -5.88%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 203.30p -5.71%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,963.50p -5.56%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Stagecoach Group (SGC) 81.00p 4.38%
PureTech Health (PRTC) 224.00p 4.19%
AJ Bell (AJB) 332.50p 3.10%
Forterra (FORT) 199.60p 2.67%
FDM Group (Holdings) (FDM) 710.00p 2.16%
Domino's Pizza Group (DOM) 285.70p 2.04%
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 1,218.00p 1.67%
Fidelity Special Values (FSV) 177.80p 1.60%
AVI Global Trust (AGT) 567.00p 1.25%
BMO Commercial Property Trust Limited (BCPT) 58.20p 1.22%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

National Express Group (NEX) 186.00p -10.83%
Ninety One (N91) 161.10p -10.10%
Provident Financial (PFG) 227.90p -10.03%
Elementis (ELM) 49.12p -9.04%
Senior (SNR) 69.40p -8.68%
Bakkavor Group (BAKK) 99.30p -7.54%
Sirius Real Estate Ltd. (SRE) 62.10p -7.04%
Hammerson (HMSO) 92.02p -6.84%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 377.10p -6.80%
Kingfisher (KGF) 159.05p -6.19%