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FTSE weakens on Reckitt slip, murky Brexit view

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FTSE weakens on Reckitt slip, murky Brexit view
Traders are seen at work at Northern Trust offices in London, Britain August 1, 2019. Picture taken August 1, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Files   -   Copyright  TOBY MELVILLE(Reuters)
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By Shashwat Awasthi

(Reuters) – London’s FTSE 100 edged lower on Tuesday as Durex condom maker Reckitt Benckiser sank 5% and concerns that negotiations over the new Brexit deal could drag on weighed on domestic stocks.

Reckitt fell to its lowest in more than one-and-a-half years after the company cut its sales view for the second time this year, leaving the blue-chip index 0.2% lower by 0740 GMT.

However, losses were cushioned somewhat as Just Eat surged 21% to 717.4 pence after Dutch firm Prosus made a 710 pence-a-share offer to buy the British food delivery company.

The FTSE 250 gave up 0.2%, while sterling also weakened slightly, after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the European Parliament could only clear the Brexit deal once British lawmakers approve it.

UK-exposed banks such as Lloyds and RBS, typically more sensitive to Brexit updates, also moved lower as investors looked to Westminster with reserved optimism for further clarity on the withdrawal process.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces two pivotal votes in parliament on Tuesday that could well decide if he can deliver Brexit by Oct. 31.

“Even if at the end of it, the deal is not ratified by parliament, rather than leave us with no deal, it simply opens the door to an election, at which point a softer Brexit and even remain are back on the table,” OANDA analyst Craig Erlam said.

London-listed shares of travel firm TUI were also among the biggest blue-chip losers, with a trader citing the drop to a rating downgrade by Morgan Stanley and fears that Boeing’s 737 MAX crisis will worsen.

Business supplies distributor Bunzl skid 4% to its lowest since February 2016 after its third quarter report showed continuing slowdown in organic sales.

“North America is still negative as forecast in our model. That said, we suspect that other regions have tipped into negative territory,” Shore Capital analysts wrote of Bunzl’s trading.

Tuesday’s losses mean the FTSE 100 has lost nearly 3.5% in October. The index confirmed a “Death Cross” pattern earlier this month, as its 50-day moving average (DMA) crossed below the 200 DMA, a warning sign that more near-term losses are likely.

(Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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