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Kingfisher and Sage lead FTSE fallers

Lower sales and weaker profits for UK blue chips are pulling the FTSE lower this morning and the index is trading close to 1% lower. The first television debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn barely threw up a winner – the polls later suggested that after the debate Johnson was only in a two point lead. For markets that means more confusion and further pound weakness, making it difficult to call how the election on December 12 will play out. 

Trump China threats add additional weight

In addition to domestic woes the renewed hostility in President Trump’s comments on China trade relations again created a risk-off trading environment which added to the FTSE’s decline. In a comment Tuesday Trump said that if there was no deal with China he would raise tariffs even higher. 

DIY group Kingfisher dropped 6.8% before starting to recover slightly after it reported another quarter of weak sales. Shares in Sage group also came under pressure as the enterprise software group reported 9.3% in pre-tax profit. Its recent plans to sell its payment processing unit Sage Pay did little to alleviate the decline. Aviva was also among the top losers on the FTSE despite plans to sell its Hong Kong unit in a bid to revive investor interest. 

UK politics leaves pound in limbo

The fact that the first public head-to-head between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn didn’t bring out a clear winner and also reflected some of the jadedness felt by UK voters towards  the two major parties has left the pound in a limbo this morning. The currency is showing barely any signs of life against the dollar and the euro as investors wait for the next cue to help them call election results.

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