Financial Planning

FTSE 100 flat as Syria concerns weigh

Financial Planning
Published: 12 April 2018

The FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) was little changed in early trading as investors weighed up the possibility of military action in Syria combined with the looming prospect of global trade wars.

The blue chip share index was flat at 0.0%, down 0.5 of a point at 7,256.70 by 10.34 GMT.

Shire (LON:SHP) was the biggest mover on the index, up 3.0%, on reports that Takeda had moved closer to making a bid for the rare-disease specialist by engaging in dialogue with its major creditors for the possibility for a loan.

Tesco (LON:TSCO) shares were extending gains from yesterday, up 2.4%, when the supermarket chain reported a jump in annual profit and a new dividend.

A raft of stocks going ex-dividend sent ITV (LON:ITV) shares down 1.6%, Reckitt Benckiser (LON:RB) 0.2% and Rentokil Initial (LON:RTO) 0.1%.

The gold miners were tracking spot prices with Fresnillo (LON:FRES) shares falling 2.1% and Randgold Resources (LON:RRS) 1.9%.

Inn the mid-caps, Dunelm (LON:DNLM) shares jumped 10.7% as the retailer reported an increase in revenue of 5.1% for its third quarter. CEO Nick Wilkinson said: “We’ve seen a good sales performance over the quarter, with like-for-like sales of 1.2% in stores and 35.7% online, despite a challenging consumer backdrop.”

Pub chain Greene King (LON:GNK) shares surged 10.4% as it reported a 1.8% drop in sales for the 49 weeks to April 8 but it expected full-year profit before tax and exceptionals to be in the range of £240-245mn. Greene King said that the Beast from the East had affected sales during February and March but trading over Easter was strong.

Online gaming company Playtech (LON:PTEC) shares rose 6.2% as it announced the acquisition of Italian peer Snaitech for €846mn.

Bus and rail operator FirstGroup (LON:FGP) shares gained 4.3% as it rejected a takeover offer from US private equity firm Apollo Management.

On the currency markets, sterling fell 0.12% against the dollar to $1.4170 and rose 0.15% against the euro to €1.1485.