‘A lot of the recent gains appear to have been predicated on the basis that central banks have shifted focus in the past few weeks to a much more dovish tilt, when it comes to the next move on interest rates, rather than any overriding optimism over the trade talks, and this may help explain the inability of markets to push on to fresh new highs,’ said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.
‘Simply speaking the trade risk is still a key limiting factor, at a time when the global economy continues to slow.’
Asia-focused stocks were among fallers dragging on the main market, with bank Standard Chartered (STAN) down 2.7% to 683p, luxury fashion brand Burberry (BRBY) falling 1.7% to £17.76 and HSBC (HSBA) losing 1.1% at 649p.
British American Tobacco (BATS) was the biggest loser in the index, giving up nearly 4% at £29.52, as full-year revenue growth outlook for new generation products came in well below analyst forecasts.
Reckitt Benckiser (RB) appointed PepsiCo executive Laxman Narasimhan to take over from Rakesh Kapoor as chief executive, nudging shares in the consumer goods business down 1% to £63.35.
The oil price dipped due to a weaker demand outlook and a rise in US crude inventories, with Brent crude futures down nearly 3% to $60.56.
Pendragon (PDG) was the focus of news among small caps, plunging 23% to 18p, as the car dealing franchise warned of pre-tax losses this year, resulting from lower new and used car registrations.
‘Businesses like Pendragon operate like a tread mill,’ explained AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould. ‘They need to keep sales ticking over in order to maintain their health. If something bad happens, they fall off the tread mill and become unhealthy.’
On the Alternative Investment Market, fast fashion retailer Boohoo (BOO), was up 1.9% to 234p thanks to strong quarterly sales growth.
It saw a 39% increase in revenues for the first three months of the financial year, with UK sales up 27% and a 66% US rise from the US market.
‘These are excellent figures, clearly demonstrating continued demand from consumers to buy clothing online rather than hitting the high street,’ said Ian Forrest, investment research analyst at The Share Centre.
‘Many others in the sector, including rival Asos, would be delighted to achieve this level of growth.’