FTSE 100 tracks Wall Street on open as AstraZeneca shares fall

The FTSE 100 opened down 0.2% at 7,775.02 despite an uptick in Asian markets prompted by China-US trade talks in Washington. Instead London traders took their cue from a slightly lower close on Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.2% at 24,713.98 at the end of Thursday’s trading while the S&P 500 closed down 0.1% at 2,720.13.

The FTSE 100 opened down 0.2% at 7,775.02 despite an uptick in Asian markets prompted by China-US trade talks in Washington. Instead London traders took their cue from a slightly lower close on Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.2% at 24,713.98 at the end of Thursday’s trading while the S&P 500 closed down 0.1% at 2,720.13. 

The Shanghai Composite Index finished the day up 1.24% supported by positive comments from talks between US trade officials and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, President Xi Jinping's top economic adviser. Although the issue of China’s metal exports to the US, a major issue for the US that has triggered a trade dispute between the two countries, has not been tackled yet China agreed to end an anti-dumping probe into imports of some US grains. The country also tabled the first proposal for reducing the trade surplus with the US by $200 billion. The trading day in the US will largely focus on the flow of these negotiations which will have implications for a range of companies from steel makers to agricultural producers. 

In London, shares in Anglo-Swedish pharma giant AstraZeneca fell 2.0% after the company said its first quarter pre-tax profit plunged 36% on the year to $374.0 million. The company attributed the massive decline to lower gross margins, higher selling, general and administrative costs, and competition from generic drug makers. However, product sales rose 3.0%. 

With a relatively thin news flow early Friday trading in other shares was dominated by triggers earlier this week. Royal Mail was down 2.09% and Vodafone traded down 1.51%. 

Sainsbury shares showed little reaction to news that the U.K. competition watchdog plans to closely look at the company’s plans to merge with Asda, the British arm of US supermarket chain Walmart. Sainsbury’s shares traded up 0.23%. The watchdog issued a preliminary invitation to comment. 

In the currency market the pound was almost unchanged at $1.3507 and the euro was a touch stronger at $1.1807. 


Join our live webinars for the latest analysis and trading ideas. Register now

GAIN Capital UK Limited (trading as “City Index”) is an execution-only service provider. This material, whether or not it states any opinions, is for general information purposes only and it does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. This material has been prepared using the thoughts and opinions of the author and these may change. However, City Index does not plan to provide further updates to any material once published and it is not under any obligation to keep this material up to date. This material is short term in nature and may only relate to facts and circumstances existing at a specific time or day. Nothing in this material is (or should be considered to be) financial, investment, legal, tax or other advice and no reliance should be placed on it.

No opinion given in this material constitutes a recommendation by City Index or the author that any particular investment, security, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. The material has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research. Although City Index is not specifically prevented from dealing before providing this material, City Index does not seek to take advantage of the material prior to its dissemination. This material is not intended for distribution to, or use by, any person in any country or jurisdiction where such distribution or use would be contrary to local law or regulation.

For further details see our full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.