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12 Sep 2019 | 12:05

London market stays flat despite Morrisons rally as investors warily eye economic data

UK stocks remain largely flat at midday on Thursday, despite a rally in the shares of supermarket chain Morrisons, which lined a special dividend after a strong half year profits performance.

Investors are clearly more concerned about wider economic issues, including the latest on the US-China trade tariff tiff although sentiment on trade received a boost after US President Donald Trump said he would delay a planned tariff hike on $250bn of Chinese goods that were set to come into effect on 1 October.

This saw leading miners strengthen, led by Anglo American's 2.3% rally and closely followed by near 2% gains for BHP and Antofagasta.

At 12.00pm the benchmark FTSE 100 index was trading virtually unchanged at 7,337.09 ahead of ahead of the key announcement from the European Central Bank which is expected to set the tone for the markets.

LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Supermarket chain Morrisons surged to the top of the FTSE 100 leader board, rallying 4.3% to 202.4p after it boosted its interim dividend and said it would pay a special dividend following a surge in profit in the first half of the year.

British American tobacco jumped 2% £30.935 after the tobacco company said it would lay-off 2,300 workers, cutting over a fifth of senior roles in the company amid efforts to simply the business.

Aerospace and defence company Babcock rose 2.5% 551p after the company it had been selected by the UK Ministry of Defence as the preferred bidder to deliver its newest fleet of warships.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Going the other way is auto and environmental engineer Ricardo following full year results that show an under pressure automotive industry. Profits nudged backwards and net debt soared to £47.4m, sending the shares tumbling 8.5% to 642p.

Wealth management group Brooks Macdonald stayed flat at £19.60 despite posting an annual profit that increased by more than fifth as efforts to streamline the business bolstered margins.

Energean Oil and Gas fell 4.6% to 950p after cutting output guidance as the oil and gas company swung to a loss in the first half of the year after a ramp-up in operations drove up costs offsetting a jump in revenues.

Focusrite rallied 6.4% 530p after the music and audio company said it expected revenue and earnings to top market expectations.

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com
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