Hong Kong shutdown spooks stock markets
Investors watching events unfold were concerned that the unrest will hit investment through the Asian financial hub
Ongoing tensions in Hong Kong caused stock markets to dip on Monday as images of police clashing with protestors and the shut down of the island’s airport filled traders’ screens throughout the day.
The FTSE 100 started the day positively, but as with other markets, it closed out down 27.13 points, or 0.37% off, at 7226.72. France’s Cac and Germany’s Dax both followed, closing down 0.33% and 0.12% respectively.
David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, explained: “On mainland China, military personal and armoured vehicles were on display, and this added to the concerns that tensions are heating up.
“The escalation of tensions in the former British territory does not project a positive image for the financial hub, and funds are likely to flow out of the region.”
He added that the ongoing trade war between China and the US remains concerning, pointing to a new Goldman Sachs report which predicts a deal will not be signed before the 2020 US presidential election.
With the FTSE 100 closing down, this had a positive effect on the pound, with one pound now worth 1.2076 US dollars, up 0.41%; and against the euro it was also up 0.26% at 1.0765. However, both are still trading at historic lows.
To add to the international concerns for investors, Argentina’s pro-business president Mauricio Macri also lost a primary vote, potentially leading the way for a return of predecessor Cristina Kirchner.
Ms Kirchner was well-known for interventionist policies, imposing currency controls and nationalising the country’s pension funds – much to the chagrin of stock markets.
In company news, Thomas Cook closed down 1.76p, or 18%, at 7.872p as the bosses revealed the travel company is in advanced talks to raise £150 million from bondholders after making “progress” over the terms of a rescue deal.
But bosses admitted current shareholders would see their shares heavily diluted as a result.
Fiona Cincotta, analyst at City Index, said: “Thomas Cook is clearly in a much worse position than was originally feared as eyes turn towards to the more challenging winter months.
Legal financier Burford Capital attempted to put recent attacks by US short-seller Muddy Waters behind it, launching a broadside, claiming its share price was illegally manipulated around the time of an attack by the analysts.
But investors remained unimpressed, with shares ending the day down 95p, or 11.2%, at 755p.
Mattress retailer Eve Sleep has confirmed it is in “very early stage discussions” with rival Simba over a potential merger. Shares were suspended following the announcement.
And Deliveroo revealed it would be pulling out of Germany, in the first major setback for the food delivery business.
Rival Just Eat saw its shares rise 10.4p, or 1.3%, to 800.4p on the news – its potential new partner Takeaway.com is already operating in Germany and could benefit from the news.
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Reckitt Benckiser up 96p to 6,127p; SSE up 15p to 1,109.5p (on smaller rival OVO confirming plans for a takeover); Just Eat up 10.4p to 800.4p; Fresnillo up 8.8p at 687.6p and Halma up 24.5p at 1,988p.
The biggest fallers were NMC Health down 113p at 1,910p; Schroders down 105p at 2,787p; Rolls-Royce down 27.2p at 752.2p; Hargreaves Lansdown down 70p at 1,996p and Burberry down 72p at 2,143p.