StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks are falling on Thursday morning amid weaker Asian overnight trading and as poor Christmas trading for many UK retailers weighed on prices.

At 08:58, the benchmark FTSE 100 was 0.46%, or 32.04 points, lower at 6,874.59.

Retailer Card Factory slumped 7.30% as it maintained its guidance for full-year earnings but warned it was set for another difficult year as like-for-like sales declined following lower high-street footfall over Christmas.

Tesco bucked the downward trend among many retailers to trade 2.30% higher after it reported strong trading over the Christmas period. It said in a trading statement it saw a 2.6% rise in like-for-like sales in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

UK oil company Premier Oil climbed 3.67% said in a trading update on Thursday that it had reduced its debt to US$2.3bn at the end of 2018, below its previous forecast of US$2.4bn.

Jupiter Fund Management added 0.92% as it said Thursday the swing lower in equity markets wiped billions from assets under management during the fourth quarter. For the three months to 31 December, assets under management fell to £42.7bn, down from £47.72bn at the September end.

Marks & Spencer rose 1.22% despite reporting on Thursday a 2.2% drop in total like-for-like UK sales in the 13 weeks to 29 December. However, it left its full-year guidance unchanged.

DFS Furniture gained 1.46% as it kept its outlook on profit unchanged despite reporting a jump in sales as it grappled with a challenging consumer environment. The company also reported that CFO Nicola Bancroft was set to retire.

Halfords Group plummeted 15.65% after it cut its guidance on profits blaming a 'challenging' third quarter, driven by 'exceptionally' mild weather and ongoing weak consumer confidence.

UK pub and restaurant operator Mitchells & Butlers rose 5.22% as it reported a 9.8% increase in like-for-like sales over the three-week Christmas period, but warned about the potential impact of the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit.

Debenhams slumped 12.71%, as sales fell by more than 3% over the Christmas period, though it remained on track to deliver profits in line with market expectations despite grappling with a gloomy high-street backdrop. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com