London stocks lower | retail dip | Taylor Wimpey chair change
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8.15am: London dips
The FTSE 100 was trading 28 points lower at 7,398.17 following sharp overnight falls on Wall Street.
7am: Taylor Wimpey board change
Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey said chair Irene Dorner will be stepping down for personal family reasons at the conclusion of the 2023 annual general meeting in April.
Ms Dorner will be succeeded by senior independent director Robert Noel – will stay on the board as a non-executive director following the conclusion of the AGM.
7am: BT shake-up
BT Group on Friday said it was combining its global and enterprise units to create a new corporate operation, in a move designed to save £100m a year by the end of 2025.
Retail sales fall
UK retail sales fell unexpectedly in November, despite the Black Friday sales promotions which, according to previous data, gave Scottish sales a slight uplift.
The 0.4% fall across British high streets, malls and retail parks is taken as an indicator of cost-of-living crisis eating into consumer finances.
A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a 0.3% rise from October.
The Office for National Statistics said the data did not include “Cyber Monday” online sales which fell on 28 November and will be included in December’s figures.
US equities were in the doldrums once more as weak retail sales figures increased worries that the Federal Reserve’s pursuit of lower inflation through higher interest rates would result in recession.
At the close the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 2.25% lower, its worst day for three months, while the S&P 500 slumped 2.5% and the Nasdaq Composite tumbled 3.23%.
Tech stocks were the biggest sufferers with Amazon.com, Meta Platform, Microsoft and Apple all sharply lower while bank shares also declined as fears of a recession increased.
In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was down 1.9%. In China, the Shanghai Composite was down 0.2%, but the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was up 0.7%.