London-listed mid-caps fell on Monday on fears that Britain’s transition period out of the European Union would expire without a free trade deal in place, while Countrywide surged to a near ten-month high following a sweetened buyout offer.
The mid-cap FTSE 250, considered a barometer of Brexit sentiment, lost 0.7% as Britain and the EU made a last-ditch attempt to bridge significant differences and reach a deal to avoid a disorderly exit in just 24 days.
The export-heavy FTSE 100 was up 0.3% as no-deal Brexit worries pressured the pound.
Autos, economically-sensitive banks and real estate firms were among the biggest decliners in morning trading.
“The market is getting a little bit anxious right now,” said Stefan Koopman, senior market economist at Rabobank.
“There has been progress on a technical level behind the scenes, but there is no political agreement yet.”
British and EU negotiators have been haggling for weeks over fishing rights, ensuring fair competition for companies and ways to solve future disputes. Investment bank JPMorgan said odds of a no-trade deal exit had risen to more than 30% from 20%.
Still, the FTSE 100 is on track to record its biggest quarterly gain since 2010 after being boosted by hopes that effective COVID-19 vaccines would soon be available and speed up an economic recovery next year.
Data on Monday showed UK house prices last month posted their biggest annual increase since June 2016, as people sought to move into bigger houses following COVID-19-driven lockdowns.
In company news, Countrywide Plc surged 20.5% after real estate management firm Connells Ltd said it had raised its buyout offer for the British firm to 164.5 million pounds ($219.99 million).
Fashion retailer Ted Baker slipped 2.1% as its half-year losses ballooned due to coronavirus-led lockdowns denting retail sales.
(Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)