UK shares lower on US recovery doubts

Published On: August 21, 2020Categories: Stocks & Shares1.6 min read

The FTSE 100 finished 1.6 per cent lower, while the midcap index was down 0.5 per cent

UK shares ended lower on Thursday after the US Federal Reserve struck a cautious note over the US economic recovery, while several big companies going ex-dividend added to pressure on the bluechip index.

The FTSE 100 ended down 1.6 per cent, with insurer Prudential and miner Anglo American among those trading ex-dividend. The midcap index fell 0.5 per cent.

Minutes from the Fed’s July 28-29 policy meeting warned of a highly uncertain path for recovery from the global health crisis that has hammered economic growth across the world.

(Fed) minutes are casting a shadow over markets and underline that any recovery is not going to be a straight line of advances, analyst Neil Wilson said.

US stocks have hit record highs despite the worries over the economic recovery, while in Europe and Britain stock indexes are yet to recover from falls caused by fallout from the virus. The FTSE 100 is lagging its peers in Europe and in the United States.

Real estate stocks were one of the few sectors that gained on the day, benefiting from safe-haven demand.

On corporate news-driven moves, miner Antofagasta fell more than 5 per cent after reporting a plunge in half-year earnings.

Along with Antofagasta’s results, a drop in copper prices from a more than one-year high also hit miners, with Glencore, BHP and Rio Tinto falling between 2 per cent and 4 per cent.

Losses in the midcap index were limited by gains in Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group along with a number of real estate stocks.

Frasers jumped 13 per cent after it forecast growth of up to 30 per cent in its new financial year, while electricals maker AO World added more than 3 per cent as it said demand for its products and services continued even after its rivals reopened stores in July.

Infrastructure group John Laing plummeted 7 per cent, marking its worst day since early-July after reporting a half-year loss and saying it was unlikely to meet its 1 billion pound investment target by the end of 2021.

About the Author: Jonathan Adams

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