Latest market news

UK stocks slump 0.7% as trade war talk intensifies

UK stocks opened weaker on Tuesday after China threatened to retaliate against US trade tariffs and UK retailer Debenhams issued yet another profit warning.

At 0900, the benchmark FTSE 100 was down 54.50 points, or 0.7%, at 7.576.83.

Debenhams sunk 11% after the struggling department store chain issued its third profit warning this year, in what remains a tough environment for bricks-and-mortar retailers.

Retirement housebuilder McCarthy & Stone, meanwhile, tumbled 16% after it downgraded its annual earnings guidance, blaming economic uncertainty in the UK and lower property pricing.

Packaging group DS Smith fell 3% after it launched a discounted £1bn share issue help fund its €1.67bn (£1.43bn) acquisition of Papeles y Cartones de Europa.

Equipment hire group Ashtead slumped 7.4%, despite posting a solid rise in annual profit, as investors focused on shrinking margins and lower earnings in its fiscal fourth quarter.

Women's fashion retailer Bonmarche was having a better morning. Its shares rallied 7.4% after tight cost control and inventory management offset lower revenue to send profits higher.

Plumbing products supplier Ferguson gained 1.6% after its third-quarter profit jumped 17% on-year on the back of rising revenue.

Telecom Plus, which provides utility services under the trading name Utility Warehouse, fell 3.7% after margin pressure kept profit broadly flat.