LONDON MARKETS: British Stocks Struggle As Economic Concerns Reignite

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08/14/2019 | 10:05 am


By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch



British stocks languished on Wednesday, with worries about the health of the global economy returning to pressure equities.



The U.K. FTSE 100 fell 0.33% to 7227.23 and the mid-cap FTSE 250 dropped 0.3% to 18947.80.



Europe stocks also were lower , as were U.S. stock futures .



What's moving markets



The state of the global economy returned to focus a day after relief from the U.S. government delaying tariffs on Chinese consumer products.



U.K. consumer prices in July rose to 2.1% year-over-year from 2% in June, and above the Factset compiled consensus economist forecast of 1.9% growth, after a jump in computer game prices. "The medium-term outlook for above-target inflation suggests that the [Bank of England's] focus will return to rate hikes in 2020 if, as we expect, a no-deal Brexit is avoided this year," said Samuel Tombs, chief U.K. economist for Pantheon Macroeconomics.



Elsewhere, Germany's economy shrank by 0.1% in the second quarter , according to data released by Destatis, the statistics agency. The economy in the eurozone as a whole rose 0.2%, Eurostat reported, with Spain's economy rising 0.5%, France's economy improving by 0.2% and Italy's economy staying flat. China meanwhile reported the softest industrial production growth in 17 years.



Focus stocks



Admiral Group shares advanced 5% as the insurer reported a 4% rise in first-half pretax profit and a increase in its dividend.



Balfour Beatty shares rose 9% as the U.K. engineering group reported a rise in first-half pretax profit, revenue and orders.



Sports Direct tumbled 11% after announcing that its auditor, Grant Thornton, will step down on Sept. 11, when the troubled sporting-goods retailer holds its annual shareholder meeting. The Financial Times reported the retailer is in discussions with the U.K. government over its auditor difficulties, since no other accountant has so far been willing to step in.





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