LONDON: UK’s FTSE 100 tumbled on Thursday as investors globally fretted over the broadening impact of inflation on economic growth and corporate profits, while Royal Mail slumped after reporting disappointing results.
The export-oriented FTSE 100 dropped 1.8%, joining a rout in global markets, with the stronger pound weighing on consumer companies.
Unilever, Diageo, Reckitt Benckiser , and British American Tobacco were down between 1.7% and 5.3%, while supermarket chain Tesco dropped nearly 4.1%.
Investors wiped almost 25% off US retailer Target’s shares on Wednesday after its profit halved, and it fell another 4.9% on Thursday.
“Target is more of a discount retailer. The expectation would’ve been that they may have not been hit so badly by the slowdown in consumer spending. Inflation hit them worse,” said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading platform IG.
“You’re seeing that across the retailers this morning in Europe, (they’re falling) on expectation that they will also take a hit. There is no hiding place on the bad news.” Royal Mail was fell 12.4% to its lowest level since December 2020 after its full-year profit came in slightly below market expectations and the postal company warned of margin pressures in the United States.
Oil and gas stocks also declined as worries about slowing global economic growth knocked crude prices.
Data this week showed British inflation hit a 40-year peak in April, deepening worries about the pain inflicted on consumers and a potential recession.
The FTSE 100 and the domestically focussed midcap indexes have lost almost 2% so far this week.
On Thursday, housebuilder Countryside Partnerships Plc slid 1.6% after it posted a lower half-year profit as the group recovers from operational issues including costly expansions and losses from manufacturing businesses.