Markets

FTSE dragged into red as traders unconvinced by housebuilder's figures

London's blue chip index closed lower by 0.25 per cent, or 18.79 points, at 7,354.13

THE FTSE 100 was dragged into the red yesterday, weighed down by stocks including Barratt Developments following a tepid outlook by the UK housebuilder.

London's blue chip index closed lower by 0.25 per cent, or 18.79 points, at 7,354.13, with Barratt emerging as its worst performer after falling 4.5 per cent, or 28.5p, to end the day at 595.5p.

While the UK's biggest housebuilder booked a 12.1 per cent increase in full-year pre-tax profit, it was not enough to charm investors.

David Madden, a market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said yesterday: "Barrett Developments posted a strong set of figures today but it wasn't enough to satisfy traders as the forecast was only lukewarm.

"The homebuilder expects 'modest' growth next year because higher stamp duty and slightly lower demand in the London market prompted the company to issue a cautious outlook.

"The healthy jump in dividend, record completions and record profits were over-shadowed by underwhelming forecast."

Sterling's strength against the US dollar also weighed on the FTSE 100, with the pound rising 0.2 per cent to trade at 1.305. Versus the euro, the UK currency was flat at 1.093.

Across Europe, the French Cac 40 rose nearly 0.3 per cent while the German Dax climbed 0.75 per cent.

Brent crude prices jumped nearly 2 per cent to US$54.16 (£41.48) per barrel as demand for oil continued to hold in the aftermath of tropical storm Harvey.

In UK stocks, Berkeley Group fell 95p to 3,657p after renewing its warning over the impact of Brexit uncertainty on London's property market.

The housebuilder was also dealt a blow after 16 per cent of investors voted against pay plans for top bosses amid backlash over a £92 million windfall for six executives.

Sports Direct rose 5.4p to 389.6p as investors digest news from the company's annual general meeting.

Independent shareholders backed chairman Keith Hellawell to stay in post despite mounting criticism over his stewardship.

The former West Yorkshire Police chief constable and government drugs tsar saw 53.24 per cent of shareholders vote in favour of his reappointment while a significant tranche – 46.76 per cent – opposed the move

Fulham Shore shares tumbled 3p to 14.25p after the Franco Manca owner issued a profit warning following a summer slowdown at its restaurants.

While the company hit targets in the first quarter, Fulham Shore said it was hit by a "slowdown in trade" in July and August, particularly at its suburban London restaurants.

However, it stressed this was a "sector-wide trading pattern" and was "not unique" to its brands.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Micro Focus International up 136p to 2,343p, Next up 107p to 4,374p, ITV up 3.2p to 159.4p and Paddy Power Betfair up 100p to 7,210p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Barratt Developments down 28.5p to 595.5p, G4S down 8.3p to 276p, BAE Systems down 16.5p to 594p and Persimmon down 63p to 2,561p.

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