Market report: FTSE opens lower due to disappointing data from China and UK travel woes

Despite hopes for a positive start the FTSE opened up this Friday on the backfoot reflecting worries over weaker than expected economic data from China and the inability of senior US politicians to agree a renewed stimulus package. Retail sales from China for July dashed hopes for a modest rise as consumers in the world’s second-largest economy show signs of uncertainty about the coronavirus. Added to this France is expected to be added to the growing UK list of ‘quarantine’ countries as a response to a surge in cases across the channel. And Later on in the day traders will be focused on data from across the pond, with US industrial production and retail sale figures due. Big news for Verona Pharma (LON:VRP) which is gearing up for a busy period with two clinical trials of its lead drug to help people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease - otherwise known as COPD.  Supplier of managed services and technology-based solutions Westminster Group (LON:WSG) has revealed it managed to move into profit in the first half of 2020 - reporting a profit before tax of £236,000. Touchstone Exploration (LON:TXP) has revealed it has spudded the hotly anticipated Chinook-1 well, its latest exploration test in Trinidad - marking the next phase of their block exploration program. And Europa Metals (LON:EUZ) is gaining after the group released a resource upgrade for the Toral lead-zinc-silver project located in northern Spain. The new independent resource estimate is for 3.8mln tonnes with a zinc equivalent grade of 8.3% and silver at 30 grams per tonne.

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