LONDON MARKET OPEN: Gold Hits Six-Year High As US-Iran Tensions Weigh

(Alliance News) - Stock prices in London opened lower on Tuesday, with demand for safe-haven ...

Alliance News 25 June, 2019 | 8:51AM
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(Alliance News) - Stock prices in London opened lower on Tuesday, with demand for safe-haven asset gold increased as worries about US-Iran tensions weighed on investor sentiment.

Iran's foreign ministry on Tuesday condemned the fresh US sanctions on the country that target Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and several military commanders as well as Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif.

US President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order imposing what he called "hard-hitting" new sanctions.

Trump said the US will continue to increase pressure on Tehran, adding that Washington has shown a lot of restraint thus far, "but that doesn't mean we're going to show it in the future".

The FTSE 100 was down 20.88 points, or 0.3% at 7,395.81. The FTSE 250 was down 99.89 points, or 0.5%, at 19,201.21. The AIM All-Share was down 1.47 points, or 0.2%, at 927.89.

The Cboe UK 100 index was down 0.4% at 12,519.00. The Cboe UK 250 was down 0.2% at 17,250.79, and the Cboe UK Small Companies was down 0.1% at 11,484.60.

In European equities, the CAC 40 in Paris was down 0.3% and the DAX 30 in Frankfurt was down .

Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said: "Donald Trump's self-created game of geopolitical whack-a-mole continued on Tuesday. Responding to the shooting down of an American drone last week, Trump on Monday announced sanctions on Iran's supreme leader and eight Iranian Revolutionary Guard commanders, a move Iran itself described as the 'permanent closure' of diplomacy between the two countries.

"Understandably this has created some unease amongst investors, so much so that gold has shot up to a 6-year high."

Gold was quoted at USD1,431.30 an ounce Tuesday morning, up from USD1,415.84 late Monday. The precious metal hit a high of USD1,438.43 overnight, its highest level since mid-2013.

On the London Stock Exchange, Mexican gold miner Fresnillo was the best blue-chip performer, up 1.6%, tracking spot gold prices higher.

Midcap gold miners Centamin and Hochschild Mining were up 3.9% and 2.5% respectively.

ITV rose 1.2% after Macquarie raised the broadcaster to Neutral from Underperform.

At the other end of the large cap index, supermarket chain WM Morrison Supermarkets was down 1.4% after the latest UK grocery market share data from Kantar Worldpanel showed Morrison's market share fell to 10.4% from 10.6% in the 12 weeks to June 16.

Tesco was down 1.3% after the Kantar data showed the UK's largest supermarket chain's market share dell to 27.3% from 27.7%.

However, J Sainsbury was up 1.0%, despite the grocer's market share declining To 15.3% from 15.6%.

Elsewhere, Carpetright was up 8.0% after the troubled carpet retailer said its business turnaround is on track to deliver GBP19 million in annualised savings as part of its company voluntary arrangement.

For the financial year ended April 27, revenue fell to GBP386.4 million from GBP446.3 million in 2018, while its pretax loss narrowed to GBP24.8 million from GBP69.8 million.

Carpetright said it saw a significant improvement in trading in the second half, particularly in the fourth quarter, with a return to like-for-like sales growth in the new financial year. In the UK, like for like sales in the first 8 weeks of financial 2020 were up 8.5% and in Europe like-for-like sales in the same period were up 4.3%.

The US and China's top trade negotiators spoke on the phone ahead of a planned meeting between the countries' presidents, state media said Tuesday.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He spoke on the phone with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday, news agency Xinhua reported.

The call was held at the US's initiative, days before Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are set to meet at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan. The meeting could determine whether the trade war ends or continues indefinitely.

The US and China announced last week they have resumed talks, after negotiations to end the protracted trade war failed last month.

The Japanese Nikkei 225 index closed down 0.4%. In China, the Shanghai Composite closed down 0.9%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong is down 1.2%.

The pound was quoted at USD1.2769 early Tuesday, higher than USD1.2729 at the London equities close Monday.

A light economic events calendar on Tuesday has US home sales and consumer confidence readings at 1500 BST.

By Arvind Bhunjun;

Copyright 2019 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security Name Price Change (%) Morningstar
Centamin PLC 220.10 GBX -2.35 -
Carpetright PLC
Sainsbury (J) PLC 189.45 GBX 0.24
Fresnillo PLC 1,294.00 GBX -2.74 -
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets PLC 192.25 GBX 0.55
Tesco PLC 223.70 GBX 0.49
Hochschild Mining PLC 301.40 GBX -3.40 -

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