FTSE drops, NMC leads the way

Big Iran-related headlines are catching investors’ eyes this morning but they are covering up a slew of company related news that is rocking the FTSE.

Big Iran-related headlines are catching investors’ eyes this morning, but they are covering up a slew of company related news that is rocking the FTSE. 
Abu Dhabi-based hospital operator NMC Healthcare dropped 15% in early trade after two of its main shareholders said last night they would sell around $490 million worth of their holdings in order to reduce their debt.
Airlines and travel operator TUI are losing ground in reaction to another crash of a Boeing plane. The plane operated by Ukrainian Airlines crashed after takeoff just kilometres away from Tehran and although UIA confirmed that it was unrelated to any terrorist action it is too early to tell whether the burden of responsibility here lies with Boeing - as it was a different plane from the grounded 737 Max - or the airline itself. 

Sainsbury reported lower third quarter sales causing shares to slip but the decline was relatively modest at 0.36% in a signal that the overall UK retail confidence may be improving slightly now that the election is over and Brexit is firmly on course. This is also borne out by Halifax’s report that UK house prices rose to a 13-year high in December following a rise in November. 

Oil spikes then eases

Oil prices remain at the mercy of geopolitics and are whipsawing in sync with military action in the Middle East. Brent crude spiked to $70.88 immediately after the Iran strike news but has since given up a large portion of the gains to trade 0.42% higher. The actual threat to supplies from the Middle East seems relatively small at the moment with traffic through the Straits of Hormuz running smoothly.

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