US stocks tumbled at the open after rising trade tensions between the US and China swept through global markets.
The Dow Jones fell 1.3%, the S&P 500 0.2% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq 1%.
The FTSE 100 was about 40 points or 0.6% down by mid-afternoon and the FTSE 250 by a similar margin.
Sterling was lower against the dollar after falling to a 2018 low on the back of President Trump’s latest trade war comments.
Global markets turned negative as Mr Trump threatened to impose a 10% tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods, prompting a swift warning from Beijing of retaliation.
US and European equity markets followed Asia into the red. S&P 500 futures were off 1% and Dow Jones futures were 1.1% lower. Japan’s Nikkei lost 1.8% and South Korea’s KOSPI retreated 1.3%.
The dollar and the Chinese yuan were weaker in Asian trade.
Debenham’s shares fell 14% at the open after issuing a profits warning on a lower pre-tax profit forecast for the current financial year to between £35m and £40m. The market had been expecting £50.3m.
In a trading update it said: “Against a background of increased competitor discounting and weakness in key markets, trading in May and early June has been below plan despite weak comparatives.”
Shares in retirement homes company McCarthy & Stone were down 14% after it also issued a profits warning saying it expects between £65m and £80m, against an expected range of £91m and £108m.
Budget airline Flybe lost £20.5m last year on the back of poor weather conditions, higher maintenance costs, and IT investment. That was slightly higher than estimates and more than three times the 2017 £6.7m loss. Its shares were 3% lower.
Better news from equipment rental firm Ashtead which said pre-tax profits climbed 21% to £927m in the last year.
Chief executive Geoff Drabble said rental revenue increased 21% to £3.4bn and that “the board continues to look to the medium term with confidence.”
The FT reports that Disney is ready to sweeten its bid for Fox with cash, in an effort to trump an offer made last week by Comcast. Disney’s original offer was all in shares. Fox’s board meets on Wednesday to consider the Comcast offer.