StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks are falling on Thursday, following Asian markets lower after China-US tensions escalated ahead of the upcoming trade negotiations between the two countries.

At 08:58, the benchmark FTSE 100 was 0.57%, or 41.44 points, lower at 7,229.56.

BT Group shed 0.97% even as it maintained its dividend after reporting annual results in line with expectations as growth in its consumer business was offset by regulatory pressures and declines in its enterprise businesses.

Morrisons slipped 0.89% after it reported a 2.3% increase in Group like-for-like sales excluding fuel in the first quarter amid continued "robust" retail sales performance despite ongoing political and economic uncertainty.

Barratt Developments added 0.65% as it said its outlook for the year was "modestly ahead" of its previous expectations amid a strong start to the year driven by "good" customer demand.

BAE Systems edged 0.34% lower as it maintained its guidance after reporting that its start to the year had been in line with expectations amid ongoing improvements on a "number of fronts".

Fashion brand Superdry rose 0.87% even as it said that trading continued to be "weak" and expected its underlying profits for the full year to be below analyst forecasts.

Insurer RSA grew 0.86% as it said its first-quarter results were "in line" with its demanding plans for the period, adding that its underwriting actions were also "on track" for improvement after a challenging 2018.

Beazley lost 1.16% after it said premiums grew double-digits in the first quarter of the year, but that higher-than-normal levels of claims in its marine, property and reinsurance businesses continued to keep a lid on growth.

National Express shed 0.77% despite saying it was "on track" to meet its full-year profit and cash flow expectations after strong Easter trading and a positive start to 2019, which saw it deliver growth in every division.

Energy services group Wood declined 1.16% after announcing it had appointed industry expert Roy Franklin as its next chairman, effective from 1 September 2019.

Packaging and paper group Mondi lost 1.67% even as it posted a 16% increase in first-quarter earnings, driven by a combination of higher selling prices, strong operational performance and lower-than-expected planned maintenance shut costs, as well as contributions from completed capital expenditure projects in 2018.

3i Group rose 0.24% as it delivered annual returns that beat its medium-term expectations following a "strong" year of growth in its portfolio and the sale of a stake in XLT.

Derwent added 0.5% after it said "strong" occupier demand in the first quarter bolstered lettings growth quarter on quarter.

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