By Emily Horton
London markets were on the back foot on Thursday, as UK voters head to the European elections polls and tension between the U.S. and China mounts.
How did markets perform?
The U.K.’s FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -0.0011% retreated by 1.1% to 7,251.53, after dipping by 0.1% on Wednesday.
The pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD +0.6214% continued to suffer from renewed Brexit uncertainty, with the Prime Minister Theresa May on track to be ousted by her own party in the coming days. Sterling fell to $1.2643 from $1.2661 the previous day.
What’s moving the markets?
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May leadership continues to be threatened, amid fierce criticism from within her own party towards her revised Brexit agreement and expectations of a crushing defeat for the Conservatives in European parliament elections starting Thursday.
The U.S. and China look to prepare themselves for an extended trade standoff. After last week’s tariff escalation, no new trade talks have been organized. Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Gao Feng said Thursday that the U.S. must “adjust its wrong actions” if it wants to keep on negotiating with the economic powerhouse, according to translated comments by CNBC.
The U.S. imposed 25% tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports and is planning to target another $300 billion. President Donald Trump also banned American companies from selling goods or services to Huawei Technologies Co.’s.
Several technology heavyweights in Japan and the U.K. have now dropped the Chinese telecoms group as a result, including Panasonic Corp., ARM Holdings PLC, BT Group’s EE and Vodafone Group PLC /zigman2/quotes/202862751/composite VOD +1.55% /zigman2/quotes/202484985/delayed UK:VOD +0.34% .
Which stocks are active
Merlin Entertainments PLC jumped 6%, after the U.S. activist hedge fund ValueAct Capital released a public letter advising the theme park owner to seek a private buyer.
British water service company United Utilities Group PLC /zigman2/quotes/203908003/delayed UK:UU +0.42% lost 1%, as the firm addressed the uncertainty recently created by the Labour Party’s proposal to renationalize the water industry, the City AM reported .