FTSE 100 hits seven-month low amid ‘horrible’ trading on European markets

The FTSE 100 hit a seven-month low on Tuesday amid a “horrible” day for European markets.

A myriad of concerns dragged European indices lower, with Brexit uncertainties, lower US and Asian stocks and EU conflict over Italy’s budget weighing on sentiment.

The FTSE 100 was down 87.6 points, or 1.24%, at 6,955.21.

Fiona Cincotta, senior market analyst at City Index, said that a “bloodbath” at the start of trading in the US has exacerbated the declines in Europe.

“A toxic combination of elevated global tensions, disappointing macros and US earning season hitting trouble means investors are pulling risk off the table, and fast.”

The European Commission’s decision to reject Italy’s budget draft took a toll on the eurozone.

The French Cac was down 1.69% and the German Dax was 2.17% lower.

Neil Wilson, analyst at markets.com, said: “A horrible day for European equities and the weakness following through from the US has not helped with indices close to their lows of the day in afternoon trading.”

The pound shook off gloom stemming from the “no confidence” threat to Prime Minister Theresa May’s leadership to finish the day higher.

Against the US dollar, sterling was up 0.18% at 1.298, while versus the euro it was trading flat at 1.130.

In London, wealth manager St James’s Place reported higher levels of new business in the three months to the end of September on Tuesday, but growth was slower than the first half.

Shares in the company dipped by 54.3p, or 5.25%, to 980.2p after it said net inflows during the third quarter were up 7% at £2.5 billion, more sluggish than the 21% growth in the six months to June.

Shares in Harry Potter publisher Bloomsbury dropped as its profits were reduced by a new acquisition, but the company said it was on track to meet full-year expectations and showed growth in books for grown-ups.

Online fashion giant Asos announced a new finance director but its shares dropped 138p, or 2.33%, to 5,782p.

The group has been operating without a permanent chief financial officer since the departure of Helen Ashton in March.

New appointee Mathew Dunn – who joins from Britvic – will not take up his role until the spring of 2019.

Meanwhile takeover target Intu said it has seen the value of its shopping centres drop following difficult retail conditions.

The group, which is being courted by a consortium led by John Whittaker’s Peel Group, said its net asset value fell 3% in the third quarter.

Shares in the company dropped 6.35p, or 3.15%, to 195.15p.

On the oil markets, prices fell after Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said it would “meet any demand that materialises” in the event of disruption.

He also said there was no intention of ceasing supply in retaliation for any potential sanctions over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

A barrel of Brent Crude was trading 4.5% lower at 76.36 US dollars.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Fresnillo up 81.6p to 977.2p, British American Tobacco up 142.5p to 3,504.5p, Randgold Resources up 238p to 6,534p and EasyJet up 28.5p to 1,132.5p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Ocado down 83.2p to 772.8p, GVC down 67p to 870.5p, St James’s Place down 54.3p to 980.2p and DCC down 340p to 6,325p.