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UK stocks open 0.6% lower on Turkey contagion fears

Friday, 10th August 2018
UK stocks opened lower on Friday amid concerns that Turkey's economic woes could hurt the wider Eurozone.

Fears were stoked by a report in the Financial Times newspaper, which said the European Central Bank was worried about the contagion effects of a dramatic fall in the Turkish lira.

At 0857, the UK's benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 44.97 points, or 0.6%, at 7.696.80.

Barclays, HSBC and Lloyds fell 0.7%, 0.5% and 0.2%, respectively, though miners were some of the morning's biggest losers, with Antofagasta and Anglo American both shedding 2.6% each.

Santander's UK arm posted a 15% fall in first-half profit due to lower pricing on mortgages and an increase in bad debt charges.

More broadly, however, the Spanish bank boosted its underlying earnings in the second quarter following a strong performance in Brazil, though acquisition costs sent its statutory profits 3% lower. Santander's London-listed shares fell 2.1%.

Spirits merchant Diageo perked up 0.4%, as it kicked off the first tranche of its £2bn buyback programme.

LED illumination system manufacturer ProPhotonix plunged 33% after warning of a first-half loss, as competition shrunk margins and a key customer switched to another form of technology.

Oil and gas explorer Serinus Energy shed 4.8%, as it posted another first-half loss and warned it could go into liquidation, left reeling by political unrest in Tunisia and project delays in Romania.

Serinus said it was likely to breach its debt covenants and may ask its lenders about getting a potential waiver, though that couldn't be guaranteed.

Satellite communications equipment provider Global Invacom descended 2.1% after its first-half profit more than halved on higher one-off costs and lower revenues.

Ventilation product supplier Volution Group said its annual revenue had grown by 11%, in line with expectations, but warned of increased costs due to delays building a new factory in Reading. Its shares fell 0.8%.

Ncondezi Energy, which is developing a thermal coal mine and power plant in Mozambique, gained 1.3% after announcing that it had asked lenders for a 12-month extension and interest rate reduction on a $5.1m loan.

Vitec Group, which provides products to the broadcast and photographic markets, posted a 20% rise in first-half profit after the Winter Olympics helped boost sales and margins expanded. Its shares were flat.

Airport and train-station convenience store chain SSP Group launched a $175m US bond offer to pay down existing debt. The shares fell 0.4%.

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