- An apparent threat by China to limit access to rare earth minerals used by global tech companies as part of its trade war with the US continued to dog the FTSE 100. By midday the index was down 1.3% and below the 7,200 mark.

Stocks exposed to the groceries market were having a particularly tough morning off the back of a weak set of industry figures with Tesco down 2.9%, Marks & Spencer falling 5.8% and Ocado down 4.4%.


London Southend Airport owner Stobart jumped 11%, despite swinging to a full-year loss owing to a series of one-off expenses including airline marketing costs and infrastructure write-downs.

Revenue jumped 39% and the company said it had entered the new financial year with 'increased confidence'.

Information services company Experian fell 1.3% as it announced that it had appointed current board member Mike Rogers as its new chairman. Rogers would replace Don Robert, who announed his departure back in December.

Industrial software company Aveva dipped 2.2% despite its profit advancing by more than a third.


Banknote authentification group Spectra Systems advanced 2.8% on guiding for profits in the current calendar year to exceed market expectations.

London-focused residential property developer Telford Homes dropped 2.8% after it booked a 13% fall in annual profit and held its dividend steady. The company said its margins were hurt by an increasing focus on the buy-to-rent sector.

EasyHotel gained 4.1% even as it swung to a modest loss for the year due to temporary closure of its Old Street property in London, which offset a rise in sales.

Digital performance marketing services provider XL Media added 2% after it announced that it intended to continue a share buyback programme initiated in December.

Customer engagement software provider Netcall tumbled 13% on downgrading its annual earnings guidance, blaming purchasing delays for hurting product sales.

Pharmaceuticals company Vectura fell 0.3%, despite announcing that its current outlook remained in line with its guidance for the full year, and that it was considering returning capital to shareholders.

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