LONDON, April 19 — UK shares fell today, weighed down by concerns about a slowdown in global economic growth and a series of negative brokerage actions, while electrical engineering firm Spectris climbed after announcing unit sale and share buyback.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 edged 0.1 per cent lower, with spirits maker Diageo, Dove soap maker Unilever and personal goods maker Reckitt Benckiser Group down between 1.2 per cent and 3 per cent.
However, gains in commodity stocks limited the losses. Oil majors BP and Shell rose 1.5 per cent and 2.1 per cent, respectively, after JP Morgan raised its price targets on the stocks.
Miners advanced 1.7 per cent as metal prices rose on hopes of more stimulus by China and low inventory-led supply worries.
The domestically focused midcap FTSE 250 index declined 0.4 per cent. SSP Group fell 4.7 per cent to hit the bottom of the index after Deutsche Bank downgraded the Upper Crust owner’s stock to “hold” from “buy”.
The World Bank yesterday lowered its global growth forecast for 2022 to 3.2 per cent from 4.1 per cent, due to the impacts from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The International Monetary Fund is expected to cut its outlook later in the day.
“The market is not only reacting to the downgrades that we’ve seen in terms of growth expectations yesterday, but also thinking that this is probably the first of many downgrades that we’re going see to growth and earnings as we go through the remainder of the year,” said Michael Brown, head of market intelligence at Caxton.
Among stocks, Spectris SXS.L gained 4.7 per cent after it announced the selling of specialist sensor maker Omega Engineering to private equity firm Arcline Investment Management for US$525 million (RM2.2 billion) and a ¥300 million (RM9.9 million) stock buyback.
ITV fell 2.8 per cent after Berenberg downgraded the broadcaster’s stock to “sell” from “hold”.
Asos dipped 2.3 per cent after Jefferies cut its price target on the online fashion retailer’s stock, while low-cost carrier Wizz Air dropped 3.3 per cent after Barclays lowered its price target. — Reuters