Economy Renewed U.S-China jitters, Italy worries hit FTSE; WPP shines

Renewed U.S-China jitters, Italy worries hit FTSE; WPP shines

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Renewed U.S-China jitters, Italy worries hit FTSE; WPP shines

London’s FTSE 100 slipped on Friday as a report that the United States was delaying a decision on letting its firms do business with China’s Huawei hit miners and oil majors, while fresh political turmoil in Italy weighed on the shares of big banks.

However, losses on the main index .FTSE, which fell 0.3%, were capped by an 8% surge in ad firm WPP (WPP.L) after better-than-expected organic sales performance in the second quarter.

Trade worries dragged blue-chip mining stocks and oil firms BP (BP.L) and Shell (RDSa.L) lower, while financial stocks .FTNMX8350 dropped after Italy’s ruling coalition collapsed and League party leader Matteo Salvini called for early elections.

The FTSE 100 was on track to lose nearly 2% this week and post its second straight week of losses, as headlines around escalating tensions between Washington and Beijing dominate news.

A post-earnings jump in gambling firm William Hill (WMH.L) and drugmaker Hikma (HIK.L), as well as a rise in shares of security contractor G4S (GFS.L) on plans to separate its cash solutions unit, led the FTSE 250 .FTMC 0.2% higher by 0748 GMT.

“Of all the bookmakers on the high street, William Hill appears to be one of the best positioned to ride out the crackdown on its revenue streams in the UK,” CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said, as its stock was set for its best day since May 2018.

Hikma shares scaled a nine-month high after the firm raised full-year revenue forecasts for its generic drug business.

Among smaller stocks, On The Beach (OTB.L) slumped nearly 17%, on track for its worst day ever, after the online travel agent warned annual performance would miss its own forecasts.

AIM-listed Burford Capital (BURF.L), whose shares tanked 46% earlier this week after short-seller Muddy Waters criticised its accounts and took a short position in the fund, jumped 10% after its directors bought shares in the company.

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