As tensions between the U.S. and North Korea escalated with the later threatening to fire rockets near the U.S. territory of Guam, it is not surprising to see the value of the blue-chip stocks wiped off on Thursday. The FTSE 100 was down 1.6% in its worst performance in four months. As Investors are dumping riskier equities to pour money into safe havens the price of gold rallied to a six-week high and the Swiss franc and Japanese yen are enjoying strong gains.
The FTSE was not only affected by the war of words between the two leaders but also by the June’s disappointing U.K. trade deficit and the ex-dividend factors. The U.K’s trade deficit in goods widened to £12.7 billion compared to £11.3 billion deficit in May, driven mainly by increased imports of goods from non-EU countries. Meanwhile, 16 companies on the index were trading ex-dividend on Thursday which usually means lower short-term share prices. Among those, Lloyds Banking Group, BT Group and Anglo American were the biggest fallers.
On the other hand, Coca-Cola HBC concluded the first half of 2017 with 5.6% rise in revenue, said to be boosted by hot weather, while operating profits jumped nearly 21% to 266.4 million. The soft drink bottler shares jumped 9% after the release of its financial statements.
Technically speaking, the FTSE opened lower on Friday and reached the 7,290s. The index continues to look weak with little signs of recovery while the U.K. also faces the many uncertainties posed by Brexit. The first line of support is seen at the 7,290-level, in the event the mentioned level did not hold the index, we could see a breach towards the 7,270s. In case of a reversal, an uptrend could send the index towards the first line of resistance at the 7,330s.
The best performers on the index are Coca-Cola HBc AG which rose 1.27% to trade at 2625. Smurfit Kappa Group PLC added 1.14% to end at 2211 and Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC was up 0.63% to reach 7357.
The worst performers are Rio Tinto PLC which fell 3.16% to trade at 3369.50. Antofagasta PLC declined 3.14% to end at 909 and Anglo American PLC declined by 2.90% ending at 1240.50.