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London open: FTSE falls as ex-dividend stocks weigh

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Thursday 16 May 2024

London open: FTSE falls as ex-dividend stocks weigh

(Sharecast News) - London stocks fell in early trade on Thursday amid a deluge of corporate news, dragged lower by ex-dividend shares.
At 0850 BST, the FTSE 100 was down 0.3% at 8,418.63.

Sophie Lund-Yates, lead equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "The FTSE 100 has shed points after setting another record on Wednesday. The investor confidence boost from Wednesday's encouraging inflation data in the US is being partially offset by wider thoughts on a busy day for company earnings.

"The overall mood remains bright though, with losses relatively minimal. That's thanks to that inflation data - while the path to disinflation was never going to be without bumps, this latest indicator suggests things are moving in favour of Federal Reserve interest rate cuts this year - albeit this can change at short notice."

In equity markets, BP, GSK, Kingfisher, Shell, Tesco, Bunzl and Essentra were all lower as they traded without entitlement to the dividend.

Sage Group tumbled despite posting solid first-half results, with traders suggesting that investors were disappointed there was no update on Copilot, which is the company's AI digital assistant for business owners.

EasyJet flew lower as it said chief executive Johan Lundgren was to step down after more than seven years in the role. Lundgren, who has held the position since December 2017, will retire in early 2025. He will be replaced by current chief financial officer Kenton Jarvis.

The announcement came as easyJet posted a reduction in first-half losses. Traditionally its weaker half, as it does not include summer holidays, the headline pre-tax loss for the six months to 31 March narrowed to £350m from £411m a year previously.

Wizz Air also lost ground.

Convatec was in the red despite keeping its top-level guidance for 2024, as growth forecasts in the advanced wound care division were reduced due to "short-term uncertainty".

On the upside, BT jumped to the top of the FTSE 100 despite the telecoms giant reporting a 31% drop in annual profits in the year to 31 March, as it laid out plans to save £3bn of costs a year by the end of the decade.

Watches of Switzerland surged as the luxury timepiece retailer said it was "cautiously optimistic" about future trading after a 4% rise in sales in the final quarter of its financial year driven by the US.

Media group Future rocketed as investors welcomed news of a £45m share buyback.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 8,418.63 -0.32%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 20,805.64 0.14%
techMARK (TASX) 4,767.78 -0.37%

FTSE 100 - Risers

BT Group (BT.A) 122.45p 8.22%
Prudential (PRU) 820.20p 2.04%
CRH (CDI) (CRH) 6,726.00p 1.66%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 5,584.00p 1.12%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 515.40p 0.82%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,483.00p 0.78%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 432.30p 0.77%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RKT) 4,631.00p 0.76%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 76.62p 0.68%
WPP (WPP) 851.00p 0.66%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Sage Group (SGE) 1,060.50p -11.44%
easyJet (EZJ) 498.70p -5.80%
Convatec Group (CTEC) 254.20p -4.51%
Kingfisher (KGF) 259.30p -3.61%
Pearson (PSON) 963.20p -2.15%
Tesco (TSCO) 304.20p -2.09%
Bunzl (BNZL) 3,046.00p -2.06%
BP (BP.) 487.65p -1.87%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 178.70p -1.84%
Shell (SHEL) 2,820.00p -1.71%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Watches of Switzerland Group (WOSG) 394.00p 16.64%
Future (FUTR) 1,011.00p 16.21%
Auction Technology Group (ATG) 534.00p 8.54%
Helios Towers (HTWS) 117.60p 6.52%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 855.00p 2.89%
Discoverie Group (DSCV) 748.00p 2.33%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 189.80p 2.26%
Marshalls (MSLH) 322.00p 2.22%
Moonpig Group (MOON) 158.20p 2.20%
IWG (IWG) 209.20p 2.05%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 2,150.00p -3.07%
RHI Magnesita N.V. (DI) (RHIM) 3,590.00p -2.45%
Foresight Group Holdings Limited NPV (FSG) 440.00p -2.44%
Spectris (SXS) 3,234.00p -2.06%
Balfour Beatty (BBY) 375.40p -2.04%
Energean (ENOG) 1,162.00p -1.78%
Pagegroup (PAGE) 472.40p -1.62%
Clarkson (CKN) 4,035.00p -1.59%
Syncona Limited NPV (SYNC) 110.00p -1.43%
PPHE Hotel Group Ltd (PPH) 1,430.00p -1.38%


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