Brexit worries and poor earnings dent UK stocks (Feb. 12)
(In Feb. 12 item, corrects quote in last paragraph to saycompany voluntary arrangement, not credit valuation adjustment)
* FTSE 100 inches up 0.1 pct, European stocks up 0.8 pct
* FTSE 250 erases gains, down 0.1 percent
* Plus500 slumps after profit warning, drags down rival IG
* Debenhams soars on additional funding
By Shashwat Awasthi
Feb 12 (Reuters) - UK shares lagged their euro-zone peers onTuesday as growing risks of a disorderly Brexit rattledinvestors, while poor results from tour operator TUI and aprofit warning from online trading platform Plus500 sappedappetite for stocks.
The mood soured on the main indices in choppy afternoontrade as Prime Minister Theresa May urged lawmakers to back herBrexit deal and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney warnedagain of the economic damage if Britain leaves the EU without adeal. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL5N207574
While the speeches did not contain any news, the commentsreinforced concerns about the protracted deadlock betweenParliament and Brussels.
The FTSE 100 .FTSE , which makes 70 percent of its incomeoverseas, closed up 0.1 percent, after briefly falling intonegative territory as sterling recouped some losses during May'sspeech. The currency hit a three-week low earlier in the day.
Investors were tense ahead of Thursday, when parliament willdebate Brexit with no date yet set for a further vote on May'sdeal.
Some of the biggest losers were companies exposed to thedomestic economy, such as pubs, supermarkets, utilities andhousebuilders, while gains were in oil majors, miners andmultinational banks.
The domestically focused FTSE 250 .FTMC ended down 0.1percent as a plunge in Plus500PLUSP.L shares accounted foralmost all the index's 31-point drop.
Optimism across euro zone markets about prospects forU.S.-China trade talks this week and a deal to avoid a U.S.government shutdown did little to help UK stocks, which are lesssensitive to the vagaries of trade tensions, traderssaid. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N20614Curn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2060IA
"That the FTSE doesn't need to make up the same kind ofrecent losses as its UK and U.S. peers likely has informed itsTuesday performance," said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.
"The Parliamentary speech and May's sparring with(Opposition Leader Jeremy) Corbyn show nothing's changed," saidMike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets.
"It all comes down to what she can convince Parliament toagree to. She has a tough sell at home and (is) hoping thatEurope blinks first."
A disruptive no-deal Brexit remained the default outcome.
"There is continued optimism that some sort of a deal willbe reached even though we have no concrete reason to believethat is going to be the case," said CMC Markets analyst DavidMadden.
Investors were also bracing for more political turmoil afterThe Sun reported that May is preparing to resign this summershortly after delivering Brexit, which could trigger a generalelection. https://bit.ly/2BwWkzr
A standout faller on the day was Plus500PLUSP.L , whichlost nearly a third of its value, after the online tradingplatform blamed a regulatory crackdown for its profit andrevenue warning. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N2072F2
The stock slumped 30 percent on its worst day in more thanthree-and-a-half years, and dragged rival IG GroupIGG.L down4.3 percent.
Dragging the FTSE 100 down was tour operator TUI TUIT.LTUIGn.DE , which has slumped since a profit warning last week,tumbling 7.5 percent to its lowest since July 2016 as itsfirst-quarter loss widened. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL9N1Y105P
Travel sector peers easyJet EZJ.L and British Airwaysowner IAG ICAG.L also fell 1.7 percent each, while Thomas CookTCG.L lost 4.9 percent.
Housebuilders Barratt DevelopmentBDEV.L , Persimmon PSN.L , Taylor WimpeyTW.L , and Berkeley BKGH.L fell 1.7 to2.4 percent as investors shed stocks seen as vulnerable to ano-deal Brexit.
Small-cap retailer DebenhamsDEB.L shot up 28 percent toits best day on record after it secured additional funding fromlenders as it struggles to find a longer-term solution to itsfinancial woes. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N2072GI
"While this (refinancing) takes away the immediate pressureand provides a short respite, we believe Debenhams is likely tomove forward with a CVA (company voluntary arrangement) in orderto reduce its lease commitments and store numbers," said JohnStevenson, retail analyst at Peel Hunt.Shashwat.Awasthi@thomsonreuters.com email@example.com
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* For company prices, click on - * Company directory: UKEQ By sector: FTAX
* For pan-European market data, click on - * European Equities speed guide................ EUR/EQUITY FTSE Eurotop 300 index........................... .FTEU3 DJ STOXX index................................... .STOXX Top 10 STOXX sectors........................ .PGL.STOXXS Top 10 EUROSTOXX sectors................... .PGL.STOXXES Top 10 Eurotop 300 sectors.................. .PGL.FTEU3S Top 25 European pct gainers.................... .PG.PEUR Top 25 European pct losers..................... .PL.PEUR ))
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