Belfast Telegraph

FTSE 100 sinks deeper into red amid Kingfisher shares drop

The London market sunk deeper into the red on Wednesday as shares in Kingfisher dropped and investor enthusiasm for the US President's promised banking and tax reforms started to wane.

The FTSE 100 Index closed down 53.62 points to 7,324.72 as the B&Q owner took a tumble after warning trading could be hit by political uncertainty triggered by Brexit and the French presidential elections.

Shares in Kingfisher were down more than 5%, or 17.6p, to 328p despite hailing an "important year" as it revealed a 14.7% hike in annual profits thanks to an overhaul of its DIY chain and surging sales at Screwfix.

Kingfisher chief executive Veronique Laury said: "The EU referendum has created uncertainty for the UK economic outlook and we remain cautious on the outlook for France, especially in light of the forthcoming presidential elections."

US markets struggled to recover after Tuesday's sell-off on Wall Street, which saw the S&P 500 post its biggest one-day loss since October last year.

Investors have started to question whether key aspects of President Donald Trump's agenda will be delayed as the Republican-backed American Health Care Act appears to be in trouble ahead of a House of Representatives vote on Thursday.

It has sparked market concern that other Trump proposals for business-friendly policies like tax cuts, looser regulations and infrastructure spending maybe held up.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.2% while S&P 500 was marginally ahead when the FTSE 100 closed.

Across Europe, Germany's Dax dropped 0.5% and the Cac 40 in France was 0.2% lower.

Jasper Lawler, senior market analyst at London Capital Group, said it was "overly simplistic to lay the blame for the market decline at Donald Trump's door".

"The first US rate hike this year, a slump in oil prices, the future of quantitative easing under higher inflation and end-of-quarter portfolio manoeuvring have played a part in markets changing course."

On the currency markets, s terling was 0.1% higher at 1.248 against the US dollar and also slightly higher versus the euro at 1.154.

The UK currency was holding onto gains from Tuesday when inflation beat expectations to reach 2.3%, its highest level since September 2013.

In oil markets, Brent crude prices fell 0.9% to 50.51 US dollars (£40.46) per barrel after the American Petroleum Institute released data showing US crude supplies rose further last week.

In UK stocks, airline shares were trading lower amid plans in the UK to introduce security measures banning laptops and other large electronic devices from being carried in cabin luggage.

Low-cost carrier easyJet was off 24p at 985p while British Airways-owner International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) dropped 15.5p to 545p.

Away from the top tier, housebuilder Redrow jumped more than 1%, or 7.2p, to 500.5p after notching up a 22% rise in profits this year thanks to a record order book and a better-than-expected rise in selling prices.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 Index were Antofagasta up 14p to 843.5p, Anglo American up 18p to 1,265p, Randgold Resources up 100p to 7,295p and Covatec Group up 2.8p to 264.3p.

The biggest fallers were Kingfisher down 17.6p to 328p, Standard Life down 10.2p to 356.2p, IAG down 15.5p to 545p and Rolls-Royce down 20p to 758p.