FTSE dips amid global uncertainty; Rightmove and Rentokil shares tumble

London’s stock market has began the day in red as the FTSE 100 index dipped by 1.1%, shedding 83.64 points to open at 7,504.36. The FTSE 250 also faced a setback, down by 0.7% at 17,273.85, while the AIM All-Share index managed a slight 0.1% increase at 685.61. The downturn was driven by the lingering impact of rising US Treasury yields, disappointing updates from major companies, and the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.

In the FTSE 100, Rightmove experienced a sharp decline of 12%. This drop followed the news of New York-listed property group CoStar sealing a deal to acquire Rightmove’s AIM-listed property portal rival, OnTheMarket (OTM). The acquisition deal, valued at £99 million, represented a premium of 56% to OTM’s closing price on Wednesday. Consequently, OTM shares surged by 55% to 108.98p, highlighting investor optimism regarding the acquisition as CoStar strategically enters the UK residential property market.

Meanwhile, Rentokil Initial, the pest control and hygiene firm, faced a challenging morning with its shares falling by 15%. The company attributed this setback to difficult market conditions in North America, affecting its full-year outlook in the region. Despite a 53% surge in third-quarter revenue, reaching £1.38 billion, the North American market presented hurdles, impacting the company’s overall performance.

Mondi, the packaging company, saw a 5.4% drop in its shares. The company reported continued challenging market conditions in its third-quarter update. Although demand remained soft, lower input costs and stringent fixed cost control mitigated the impact of reduced average selling prices. A forestry fair value gain of €14 million contributed to lower underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA).

Additionally, Hargreaves Lansdown, the retail investment platform, faced a decline of 4.9% in its shares. The company reported a slowdown in net new business, reflecting moderated flows observed across the market. Despite this, the platform achieved a 91.7% retention rate among its 1.8 million active clients. Revenue grew by 13% year-on-year to £183.8 million, driven by the growth in net interest margin, which offset the revenue impact of lower share dealing volumes.

Today’s economic calendar includes the latest US jobless claims data scheduled at 13:30 GMT, along with remarks from various Federal Reserve officials, including the central bank’s chair, Jerome Powell. These events could contribute to the current market volatility, keeping investors on edge as global uncertainties persist.