Morning Report: FTSE 100 slides as US/China tensions escalate

Headlines from the Proactive UK newsroom.

The FTSE 100 slumped as China shut a US consulate in Chengdu in retaliation to a similar measure in Houston. The blue chip index fell 110 to 6,101.

UK retail sales bounced 13.9% month-on-month June, following on from May’s 12.9% increase. Sales volumes are still down on a year ago, but only slightly.

Centrica PLC (LON:CNA) is to sell its North American business for US$3.6bn as the British Gas owner-reported another loss for the first half of the year. The FTSE 250-listed group has sold it to NRG Energy for a cash payment equivalent to £2.85bn.

Engineer IMI PLC (LON:IMI) has reinstated its dividend payments following what it said was a “resilient performance” in its first half. Half-year profits rose 5% despite lower revenues.

Pearson PLC (LON:PSON) also maintained its dividend even though it swung to an underlying half-year loss after the closure of schools and test centres due to the coronavirus pandemic. The educational publisher is still searching for a new chief executive seven months after John Fallon announced his retirement.

Sareum Holdings PLC (LON:SAR) has reported what it said were encouraging results from early stage tests of two small molecule inhibitors to treat lupus. Partner SRI International carried out the disease model studies.

Berkeley Energia (LON:BKY) has received some encouragement for its Salamanca uranium development in Spain. The Nuclear Safety Council has indicated authorisation for the uranium concentrate plant at the site should be extended.

Integumen (LON:SKIN) subsidiary Labskin has launched the world’s first remote clinical skin trials platform. The AIM-listed group said the platform will harvest a human volunteer’s skin and transport it to the Labskin laboratory to be transplanted onto laboratory-grown skin to create an exact replica.

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