LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Drops As Home Builders Fall On Gloomy Price Data

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

U.K. stocks fell Thursday, weighed by losses among home builders after downbeat figures in the housing sector, while a number of FTSE 100 companies traded without dividend rights.

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The FTSE 100 lost 0.7% to 7,446.61, as basic material, consumer-related and finance shares moved lower. But utility and oil and gas shares were among advancers. The benchmark on Wednesday dropped 0.6% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftse-100-falls-as-us-north-korea-tensions-prompt-flight-to-safety-2017-08-09), hurt as investors fled so-called risk assets as tensions between the U.S. and North Korea escalated.

Thursday's decliners included home builders after the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said U.K. house prices in July rose at the slowest rate (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/uk-house-prices-grow-at-slowest-rate-in-4-years-rics-2017-08-10) in more than four years. Headline price growth across the U.K. was 1% compared with 7% in June.

Shares of Barratt Developments PLC (BDEV.LN) fell 1.2%, Persimmon PLC (PSN.LN) lost 1.7%, and Taylor Wimpey PLC (TW.LN) declined 1.4%.

"The RICS price expectations balance also fell to zero, indicating that estate agents anticipate broadly flat prices through the remainder of 2017," said Conall MacCoille, chief economist at Davy Research, in a note.

"However, the U.K. still faces the many uncertainties posed by Brexit. Clearly the housing market and its potential impact on the stretched U.K. consumers pose risks for the broader economy."

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A snapshot of construction activity as well as industrial production in June will be released at 9:30 a.m. London time, or 4:30 a.m. Eastern Time. The pound bought $1.2963, down from $1.3004 late Wednesday in New York.

Stock movers: Coca-Cola HBC shares surged 8.3% after the beverage bottler said strong volume growth, price increases and improved packaging mix resulted in a rise in first-half earnings (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/coca-cola-hbc-earnings-rise-on-volume-growth-2017-08-10).

But shares of miner Glencore PLC (GLEN.LN) fell 1.9% even after the miner posted said it swung to first-half profit (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/glencore-swings-to-profit-on-commodities-boom-2017-08-10) and raised its full-year earnings outlook.

Meanwhile, 16 companies on the FTSE 100 were trading without dividend rights on Thursday, which can sometimes mean lower short-term share prices. Among those losing ground, Rentokil Initial PLC (RTO.LN) shed 0.6% and liquor maker Diageo PLC (DEO) (DEO) fell 0.3%. But drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK.LN) (GSK.LN) was up 0.7%.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 10, 2017 04:11 ET (08:11 GMT)