UK stocks close in the red after weak US opening as concerns grow over weak China growth data

17:20 18/10/2019
StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks completed a volatile Friday by closing lower after major US markets opened on the back foot in the wake of China releasing disappointing economic growth figures. The mood of investors was dictated by new global growth slowdown fears and concerns that Boris Johnson will find it an uphill battle getting his Brexit deal through a parliamentary vote on Saturday.

China's gross domestic product grew by 6% in the third quarter, the weakest quarterly rate since 1992.

At the close, the benchmark FTSE 100 index had lost all of its midday gains to end the trading week down 31.75 points down at 7,150.57.

ACTION IN THE HOTELS SPACE

Hotel giant InterContinental Hotels was the FTSE 100's biggest loser on Friday, falling 4.6% to £45.20 after its revenue per available room fell 0.8% in the third quarter amid tougher trading conditions in the US and China.

Yet smaller peer Elegant Hotels saw its share price jump more than 56% to 109.5p on news that it had received a $130m takeover bid from Marriott International, pitched at 110p per Elegant share.

Steel conglomerate Evraz was also a heavy loser, down 4.6% at 375.2p, after underwhelming investors at a capital market day. The company revealed plans to invest heavily in three major projects and push through a programme of operating efficiencies, the latter at a cost of $350m this year with further expenses down the line.

London Stock Exchange rose 0.8% to £71.02 on the back of a 12% improvement in third-quarter income led by its information services and clearing businesses.

CYBER FIRM RALLIES ON SOLID GROWTH

Cybersecurity company Avast went close to the top of the FTSE All-Share leader board after posting a positive third quarter trading update that continued its upbeat trends seen through 2019.

Avast posted 9% growth in adjusted revenue, after stripping out discontinued and sold-off parts of the business, sending its share price nearly 9% higher to 401.2p. Avast IPO'd at 250p in May 2018. Fashion chain Ted Baker was also in heavy demand on stake-building by funds owned by Schroders. Ted Baker stock soared close to 10% higher to 527p.

Logistics company Wincanton turned an earlier loss into a 1.7% gain to 238p after it announced that it was undertaking a diligence exercise on Eddie Stobart to assess the potential merits of a takeover of its rival. Eddie Stobart shares were suspended from trading.

Eddie Stobart shares stayed flat at 71p.

Animal pharmaceuticals company Dechra Pharmaceuticals shed 1.8% to £26.26 after it said that it was still resolving previous supply issues, though many had been mitigated.

Berlin residential property specialist Phoenix Spree Deutschland rose 3.7% to 323.5p on announcing that it would commence a buyback of its shares, having accelerated sales of condominiums.

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