- A potential escalation over the US-China trade war weighed on the FTSE 100, which declined 0.4% to 7,596 around midday.

US president Donald Trump threatened to impose a 10% tariff on an additional $200bn of Chinese goods.

Miners were among the casualties with Rio Tinto (RIO) down 3% at £41.28 and BHP Billiton (BLT) falling 2.7% at £16.33. Anglo American (AAL) and Glencore (GLEN) were also hit by negative sentiment.

Brent crude oil slipped 0.6% to $74.88 per barrel.

A profit warning at retirement housebuilder McCarthy & Stone (MCS) saw its shares decline by 15.4% to 110.3p after a strong selling period over spring failed to materialise. A 'noticeable decline' in reservation rates was one of the main reasons behind the warning.

This led to a negative read across to peers Persimmon (PSN), down 2% to £26.47, and Taylor Wimpey (TW.) which shed 1.1% to 184.5p.

There was another profit warning from embattled department store Debenhams (DEB), marking the third warning in six months. The company blamed poor trading and higher competitor discounting for its poor performance, causing its shares to fall 7.9% to 18p.


Industrial power equipment supplier Ashtead (AHT) declined 6.2% to £22.24 despite a 21% jump in pre-tax profit to £927m and dividend hike in the year to 30 April.

Outsourcer Capita (CPI) won a large contract with the Ministry of Defence and agreed to sell its supplier assessment services business for £160m, helping the stock rally 7.7% to 163.9p.

Plumbing and heating products distributor Ferguson (FERG) benefited from robust demand in US residential markets, pushing profit 17.1% higher its third quarter. Shares in Ferguson gained 2.3% to £60.25.


There was more bad news from the retail sector after Footasylum (FOOT) warned its trading was hit by weaker consumer sentiment on the high street. Shares in the trainers seller plummeted 48.6% to 86p as investors were spooked by the news.

Value fashion chain Bonmarche (BON) enjoyed a 12.2% rise to 115p following a 38% increase in profit in the year to 31 March thanks to strong online sales.

Airline Flybe (FLYB) spent more than expected on maintenance costs and IT amid adverse weather conditions, resulting in a higher loss than expected of £20.5m. The stock experienced some turbulence, falling 5.5% to 37.7p.

Advertising technologies specialist Taptica (TAP) revealed earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation is forecast to beat market expectations, prompting the shares to jump 15.7% to 321p.

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