Next Plc weighs on FTSE, UK gears up for December election

Credit: REUTERS/DYLAN MARTINEZ

Results-driven falls in Next Plc shares pulled the UK blue-chip index lower on Wednesday, while markets braced for a wide array of possibilities for the way forward on Brexit after parliament approved a December election.

By Muvija M and Shashwat Awasthi

Oct 30 (Reuters) - Results-driven falls in Next Plc shares pulled the UK blue-chip index lower on Wednesday, while markets braced for a wide array of possibilities for the way forward on Brexit after parliament approved a December election.

The FTSE 100 .FTSE dipped 0.1% by 0844 GMT, while the midcap index .FTMC shed early losses to turn flat.

In news-related moves, retailer Next NXT.L dropped 3% to the bottom of FTSE 100 after the company said sales in September were hit by unusually warm weather, while small-cap passport maker De La Rue DLAR.L plunged nearly 30% to its lowest in two decades after another profit warning.

Standard Chartered STAN.L added 2.2% after a forecast-beating rise in quarterly profit, even though it flagged headwinds from a likely drop in global growth and lower interest rates.

Still, moves on both UK benchmark indexes were marginal as investors waited for the conclusion of a two-day policy meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The Fed is expected to lower interest rates for the third time this year as it looks to soothe an economy bruised by the protracted trade war with China.

The latest in the Brexit saga saw Prime Minister Boris Johnson win parliamentary support for an election on Dec. 12 as he seeks to break a political deadlock, after lawmakers forced his hand to get another delay to the departure date.

The parliament has so far rejected the divorce agreements put forth by him and his predecessor, Theresa May, except for Johnson's last attempt where the deal was approved for a second reading.

Highlighting the aversion to UK equities due to the uncertainties that ensued the 2016 Brexit referendum, the FTSE 100 has gained just 15% since the UK voted to leave the European trading bloc, a far cry from the 50% rise for its Wall Street counterpart Dow .DJI.

The FTSE is set to record its third month of losses for 2019 in October, as its exporter stocks have been knocked by a firmer sterling due to no-deal Brexit fears abating.

Among midcaps, medical products maker ConvaTec CTEC.L jumped 10% after quarterly revenue came in above market expectations and Computacenter CCC.L advanced 6% following upbeat results for the last three months.

FTSE vs Dow vs STOXXhttps://tmsnrt.rs/2NouuKN

(Reporting by Muvija M and Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Safia Infant; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

((muvija.m@tr.com; within UK +44 20 7542 1810, outside UK +91 80 6749 3638;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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