European markets subdued amid US holiday

The FTSE 100 kicked off the trading day with minimal movement on Tuesday as global markets remained subdued due to the US holiday and a light economic calendar.

The index opened slightly lower, down just 0.31 points at 7,526.95, while the FTSE 250 saw a modest increase of 10.59 points, or 0.1%, reaching 18,518.33. The AIM All-Share index also experienced a marginal rise, up by a mere 0.31 points, closing at 754.00.

Housebuilding stocks weighed down the performance of major companies. Persimmon faced a decline of 1.9%, and Taylor Wimpey witnessed a setback of 2.0%. Vistry and Redrow, both listed on the FTSE 250, also experienced drops of 2.2% and 1.6%, respectively.

A negative catalyst watch was placed on Taylor Wimpey and Vistry by JPMorgan, while Persimmon was downgraded from “overweight” to “neutral.”

Sainsbury’s saw a decline of 1.7%. The company reported improved first-quarter results, with a rise in grocery sales, including its Argos division.

According to Sainsbury’s, total retail sales excluding fuel saw an annual growth rate of 9.2% in the 16 weeks leading up to June 24. This figure excludes fuel sales. Like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, also experienced a year-on-year increase of 9.8%.

While fuel sales alone witnessed a decline of 21%, grocery sales rose by 11%, and general merchandise sales showed improvement with a 4.0% increase, supported by a significant 5.1% climb in Argos sales. However, clothing sales declined by 3.7%.

Dunelm, a home furnishings retailer, faced a significant drop of 6.5% after RBC downgraded the stock from “sector perform” to “underperform.”

On the AIM market, Aptamer saw a decline of 41%. The developer of optimer binders announced its goal of reducing operating cash outflow to below £3 million for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2024, a 50% decrease compared to the £6 million outflow in the previous financial year. The company aims to achieve positive cash flow in financial 2026; however, this would require annual revenue of £6 million, which exceeds the £1.8 million achieved in the preceding year. Aptamer reported a cash balance of £200,000 at the end of June.

Restore, a digital and information management services provider saw a sharp drop of 29% following a profit warning and the departure of its chief executive.

Charles Bligh stepped down “by mutual consent,” and Jamie Hopkins, the Senior Independent Director, assumed the role of interim CEO. Sharon Baylay-Bell, the Chair, became the executive chair, effective immediately.