StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks opened weaker on Wednesday, following Asian markets lower, as China threatened to retaliate against a raft of US tariffs due to be introduced Friday.

At 0858, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 14.07 points, or 0.2%, at 7.579.22.

Supermarket chain J Sainsbury notched an 0.8% rise in first-quarter sales, claiming that price cuts had attracted more customers. The market was expecting a modest fall in sales and its shares pushed 0.2% higher.

Oil major BP agreed to an asset swap with ConocoPhillips that upped its stake in the Clair field in the North Sea, while exiting its interest in the Kuparuk oil play in Alaska. The oil major's shares fell 0.2%.

National Express Group said it had been awarded a major €1bn bus contract in the cities of Rabat, Sale and Temara in Morocco, helping its shares rise 0.4%.

Building products supplier SIG posted a 0.6% rise in first-half revenue, driven by favorable currency movements that offset a drag caused by nasty winter weather. Its shares fell 0.9%.

Topps Tiles slipped 1.6% after it blamed weak consumer confidence for a 2.3% fall in third-quarter like-for-like sales.

Foodservice company Compass Group shed 1.4% on news its finance director Johnny Thomson was leaving and that it was searching for his replacement.

Gaming software group Nektan surged 23% on the back of news it had posted a 48% rise in annual net gaming revenue following the launch of more than a dozen new sites in the fourth quarter.

Wealth management and employee benefits business Mattioli Woods said it grew organic revenue by 15% in the year through May, as its assets under management swelled. Its shares edged back 0.1%.

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