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London market dented as US-China trade tensions grow

The FTSE 100 closed down 103.15p at 7,231.04p


President Donald Trump has involved the US in a trade war with China (PA)

President Donald Trump has involved the US in a trade war with China (PA)

President Donald Trump has involved the US in a trade war with China (PA)

Markets in London and across Europe were dented on Thursday after US-Chinese trade tensions ratcheted up once more.

The FTSE 100 closed down 103.15p at 7,231.04p at the end of trading on Thursday.

Tensions between the two global powerhouses appeared to calm down earlier in the week but flared up again as the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said trade discussions could not continue unless the US “adjusts its wrong actions”.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “There are no planned meetings between both sides, and that is sending out a very negative message.

“The 90 day delay in relation to the Huawei ban helped stocks at the start of the week, but that now feels like a long time ago.

“It appears that all the progress that was made throughout 2019 has gone up in smoke in a few weeks.”

European markets were also weakened after disappointing German manufacturing figures were announced this morning.

The German Dax fell by 1.78% and the French CAC fell by 1.81%.

Sterling rebounded slightly after starting the day in negative territory after Andrea Leadsom quit the Cabinet, putting greater pressure on the Prime Minister.

The pound rose 0.02% to 1.267 versus the US dollar and decreased 0.2% to 1.133 versus the euro.

In stocks, B&M shares declined after the bargain retailer posted another year of profit and revenue growth, despite issues in its German business and a weak period for homeware sales.

Group profit before tax increased by 8.7% to £249.4 million in the 52 weeks to March 30.

Shares in the retailer closed down 17.1p at 362.9p.

Broadband provider TalkTalk saw shares rise marginally after it said it looked to persuade existing customers to switch to its faster, more expensive, fibre broadband service, helping to reduce its losses.

Pre-tax losses for the 12 months to March 31 hit £5 million but was a significant improvement on a £100 million loss a year earlier.

TalkTalk shares were up 1.1p at 116.2p at the close of trading.

Pub group Young’s saw shares rise after it posted strong annual growth but warned it will be tough to beat the growth of last year’s bumper World Cup summer.

Revenue was up 8.7% to £303.7 million, despite what the company called a “challenging backdrop”.

Shares in the company were up 37.5p at 1,885p.

Shares in Merlin Entertainments jumped higher after calls from a US activist investor to sell the company and remove it from the stock market.

Bosses at the Legoland and Madame Tussauds owner rebuffed the calls from San Francisco-based private equity house ValueAct Capital.

Shares in Merlin surged by 25.1p to 357.6p at the close of trading.

The price of oil slid heavily as traders worried that trade tensions could dent demand, while weak manufacturing data from Germany also weighed it down.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil fell by 4.4% to 67.7 US dollars.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were NMC Health, up 35p at 2,438p, IAG, up 6p at 478.8p, AstraZeneca, up 75p at 6,013p, and Fresnillo, up 4.2p at 732.8p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Morrison’s, down 12.1p at 197.2p, Tui, down 40p at 740.2p, Melrose Industries, down 7.8p at 166.7p, and Smurfit Kappa Group, down 100p at 2,205p.