(Reuters) – London’s FTSE 100 slipped again on Friday as gambling firm GVC plunged as its top executives cut stakes, while weak Chinese export data rekindled global growth fears and investors remained daunted by Europe’s central bank’s downbeat economic outlook.
Struggling department store Debenhams was a bright spot on the UK indexes after Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley made a move towards running the more than 240-year-old company.
The main index and the FTSE 250 were both down 0.6 percent by 0913 GMT.
GVC plunged almost 16 percent hitting its lowest level since July 2016 and on track for its steepest drop in nearly nine years after its chairman and CEO sold some of their holdings in the company.
The fall in British stocks was in line with global mood that dragged Shanghai stocks by their most in five months.
Debenhams jumped 24 percent after Sports Direct Chief Executive Ashley’s plans to forego his current role at Sports Direct to focus on small-cap Debenhams.
Sports Direct, founded by Newcastle United-owner Ashley, slipped 2 percent in response.
Earnings reports led some midcap stocks sharply higher despite the foul mood.
Building materials supplier SIG jumped 10 percent as 2018 profits surged on cost control and thermal processing service provider Bodycote rose 9 percent on a profit beat.
Gains placed both SIG and Bodycote on course for their best day in over two years.
However, tourism and insurance group Saga slipped 6 percent after JP Morgan downgraded to “underweight” and said competitive markets were pressuring margins.
(Reporting by Muvija M and Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; editing by Josephine Mason)