September 17, 2018 / 8:58 AM / 8 months ago

UK shares flat as market awaits U.S. trade move

MILAN (Reuters) - UK shares were broadly unchanged at the close on Monday after a choppy session as investors waited for the next move in the trade dispute between China and the United States.

FILE PHOTO: City workers make phone calls outside the London Stock Exchange in Paternoster Square in the City of London, Britain, October 1, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

The FTSE 100 index closed down 0.03 percent at 7,302 points and mid caps .FTMC lost just 0.01 percent.

Trade was the chief focus after Reuters reports that U.S. President Donald Trump was likely to announce new tariffs on about $200 billion of Chinese imports.

ITV (ITV.L) fell 1.1 percent with traders citing a report in the Sunday Times that the commercial broadcaster had entered the bidding for Endemol Shine, the production firm behind TV shows such as Big Brother and MasterChef.

“A rights issue might be necessary for ITV to enter the fray for this asset, and financial synergies aren’t immediately clear at this juncture,” said analyst Neil Wilson.

Utilities were led higher by SSE (SSE.L) which rose 3.5 percent, an increase which comes after its shares fell over 10 percent last week after a profit warning.

Telecom company BT (BT.L) added 1.2 percent after a price target upgrade.

Vodafone (VOD.L) gained 0.4 percent on a FT report saying its incoming chief executive was considering a sale of mobile masts assets to reduce the company’s 31 billion pounds debt pile.

Housebuilders, a sector hit by a slowing economy and worries over Brexit, were broadly higher. Traders cited encouraging Rightmove house price data.

“The index showed a return to growth in house prices in September, amid signs of recovery in London and a pickup in sales of the capital’s most expensive properties,” said Jasper Lawler, an analyst at LCG.  

Shares in Barratt (BDEV.L) and Berkeley (BKGH.L) rose around 0.5 percent.

Among mid-caps, Sirius Minerals (SXX.L) rose 6.3 percent after the fertilizer maker reached a supply deal with Brazilian distributor Cibra.

Reporting by Danilo Masoni, editing by Larry King and Ed Osmond

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