The UK FTSE 100 Index headed lower on Thursday, pressured by a selloff in financial and defensive sectors, while homebuilders jumped on signs of a pickup in the housing sector.
Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey and Barratt Development jumped to the top of the FTSE 100 after data showed buyers returned to Britain’s property market last month as it reopened from a coronavirus-led lockdown.
Persimmon also pointed to strong reservations since reopening its sales offices.
The blue-chip index was down 0.1 per cent, with consumer staples and utilities stocks the biggest drags. The mid-cap FTSE 250 added 0.4%, tracking gains in Asian stocks on hopes that an economic recovery in China remained intact.
Recruiter Robert Walters jumped 4.8 per cent as it said it was performing in line with market forecasts for the full year despite reporting a fall in second-quarter net fee income.
European stocks, in contrast rose on Thursday as software giant SAP signalled a rebound in its business from a coronavirus hit, while optimism over China’s recovery helped Germany outperform.
The broader European equities index rose 0.3 per cent in early deals.
SAP jumped 6.5% after the German group confirmed its full-year outlook and said business activity gradually improved in the second quarter from the effects of a global lockdown.
Denmark’s Pandora gained 1.2 per cent after it lifted its profit forecast for the second quarter, saying consumers had returned to shops faster than expected.
China-exposed miners, luxury stocks and automakers all rose, drawing comfort as a rally in Shanghai shares extended to the eighth day on hopes of a faster recovery for the world’s second largest economy.
Frankfurt-listed shares outperformed its European peers with a 0.9 per cent jump, as data showed German exports rebounded in May, spurred by the lifting of lockdown measures.