- Investors retreated to the apparent safe haven of US Treasuries, with 10-year yields falling to their lowest levels since 2017.

This followed a veiled threat by China to limit access to rare earth minerals as part of its trade war with the US. Though the FTSE 100 was off its lows for the day, it still closed down more than 1% at below the 7,200 mark.

By 4.30pm UK time the S&P 500 was down 1% at 2,775.59. European markets were also heavily in the red with oil prices lower.

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 4.9% and Ocado down 4.4%.

Marks reversed earlier losses to trade up 2% as it looked, despite previous fears, as if it would avoid relegation from the FTSE 100 at the next reshuffle in June.


London Southend Airport owner Stobart advanced 9%, 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 0.7% 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 1.3% despite its profit advancing by more than a third.


Banknote authentification group Spectra Systems advanced 5.4% on guiding for profits in the current calendar year to exceed market expectations.

London-focused residential property developer Telford Homes dropped 4% 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 build-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 4.3% after it announced that it intended to continue a share buyback programme initiated in December.

Customer engagement software provider Netcall tumbled 13.7% on downgrading its annual earnings guidance, blaming purchasing delays for hurting product sales.

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