LONDON, Aug 13 — UK shares fell today, as worries over protests in Hong Kong, the US-China trade spat and the health of the British economy continued to fuel a risk-off sentiment, even though travel firm TUI rose after quarterly results.
The main index shed 0.3 per cent as it fell for the third straight session. The more domestically-focused mid-cap FTSE 250 gave up 0.5 per cent by 0752 GMT, despite a near 15 per cent surge in trading platform Plus500 after half-year results.
London-listed shares of tour operator TUI advanced 3.5 per cent after it said robust business outweighed problems with the grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX jets in the third quarter and upheld its annual earnings view.
Protests in Hong Kong, now in their tenth straight week, have hurt shares of blue-chip constituents with dealings in Asia, such as HSBC and Standard Chartered.
This, as well as pressure from simmering US-China trade tensions and worries over the health of the global economy has nullified any benefit the exporter-heavy FTSE 100 may enjoy from a weaker pound. The index is on track for its biggest monthly fall since October 2018.
UK-focused banks and other domestically-prevalent stocks, meanwhile, have been hit by Brexit jitters, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson seemingly steadfast on his promise to deliver Brexit with or without a deal on October 31.
Investors fled equities and piled into safe haven assets such as gold, leading the metal’s prices to the highest in more than six years. Precious metals miner Fresnillo added 2.6 per cent and was on track for its best month since January 2017.
“The rise in gold prices to record highs… as well as the sharp collapse in bond yields is raising concerns that stock markets may well be about to take a sharp trip back to the lows last seen at the end of last year,” CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said.
Plus500 was tracking its best day in more than one-and-a-half years after its new share buyback plan helped offset a more than 50 per cent slump in first-half earnings.
Luxury carmaker Aston Martin skidded 5.7 per cent after Credit Suisse downgraded its rating and slashed its price target by more than two-thirds. A Financial Times report also said hedge funds had taken short positions in the company. — Reuters
Source: The Malay Mail Online