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London markets in red as housebuilders and North Sea energy firms fall

London stocks suffered another decline on Thursday (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
London stocks suffered another decline on Thursday (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

London’s main financial markets dropped further on Thursday amid weak trading for housebuilders and oil and gas firms.

Housing developers were among the main fallers after sentiment in the sector was knocked by Crest Nicholson’s profit warning.

Meanwhile, oil and gas firms with operations in the North Sea saw their shares fall back after the Labour Party confirmed it will not issue new oil and gas licences for the region if it gets into government.

The FTSE 100 finished 51.81 points, or 0.63%, lower to end the day at 8,163.67.

Across Europe, the main financial markets were again in the red as election-related uncertainty continued to put pressure on French stocks.

The Cac 40 in France ended 1.99% lower and the German Dax index was down 1.97% at the close.

Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst, said: “It has been a week to forget for Europe.

“Snap French elections have sent investors scurrying from European stocks, just as those markets began to hit their stride after a decade and more of underperformance versus the US.

“Compared to the prospect of hard-right members sitting in the National Assembly, the UK seems an island of stability, though the FTSE 100 and 250 have not been able to escape the general risk-off move today.”

Across the Atlantic, strong showings from Tesla and Broadcom led a surge for tech stocks in the US.

Meanwhile, sterling ticked higher again versus the euro, which has remained shaky since President Emmanuel Macron’s shock election announcement.

The pound was down 0.32% at 1.275 US dollars and was up 0.23% at 1.186 euros.

In company news, Crest Nicholson shares were significantly lower after the FTSE 250 housebuilder warned its annual profit will fall by about a third this year amid persistent challenges in the housing market.

The group said it expects annual profit to be somewhere between £22 million and £29 million, down on analyst expectations of about £38 million.

The group, which has been hampered by high mortgage rates, saw shares decline by 11.6%% to 212.8p.

Pub group Fuller’s served up a positive update to shareholders as profits jumped on the back of stronger sales.

The Chiswick-based company said its central London locations brought in particularly strong trading over the past year as it recorded an 11% increase in like-for-like sales.

Fuller’s shares finished the day up 1.1% at 728p.

Money transfer firm Wise saw its shares tumble after profit forecasts disappointed investors.

The UK fintech company also revealed that profits more than tripled for the past year, but saw positivity surrounding this eclipsed by a projected slowdown in income growth. Shares slipped by 11.5% to 746.5p.

The price of oil slipped after the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reduced its spot price forecast in its latest short-term energy outlook update.

A barrel of Brent crude oil was down by 0.3% to 80.45 US dollars as markets were closing in London.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Halma, up 314p to 2,664p, BT, up 5.6p to 135p, Severn Trent, up 101p to 2,520p, United Utilities, up 31p to 1,050.5p, and Haleon, up 5p to 325.8p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Intermediate Capital, down 126p to 2,226p, Ashtead, down 264p to 5,496p, Persimmon, down 57p to 1,441p, RS Group, down 25p to 705.5p, and Land Securities, down 20.5p to 622p.