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Britain’s FTSE steady, with mixed bank results in focus

Britain’s FTSE steady, with mixed bank results in focus

LONDON: Britain’s top share index was little changed on Wednesday, with banking stocks mixed as Barclays and Standard Chartered headed in opposite directions after reporting their latest results.

The benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 0.1 percent at 6,276.10 points by 1024 GMT. It has fallen around 12 percent from a record high it reached one year ago today.

Shares in Asia-focused Standard Chartered fell 3.4 percent following a downgrade by Deutsche Bank. The stock had rallied 10 percent on Tuesday after the bank reported a rebound in first- quarter profits.

Deutsche Bank lowered its rating to “sell” from “hold” and cut its target price for the stock to 454 pence from 460 pence. It said Tuesday’s rally was not justified by the revenue outlook and forecast returns in 2018.

By contrast, Barclays was up 0.5 percent despite a slump in profits, with some traders pointing to a relatively strong performance at the bank’s UK division.

Although first-quarter pretax profits missed expectations, pretax profits were 7 percent higher than forecast, after a 109 million-pound accounting charge was stripped out.

“Investors are perhaps hopeful that things are on the up from the group, with better returns on the horizon via a revamped investment banking division – the one that made it such a success in years gone by,” Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, said.

The UK mining index fell 0.6 percent on worries over demand in China, with shares in both BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto falling 1.4 percent.

The market showed little initial reaction to a report that Britain’s economy slowed in the first quarter. First-quarter gross domestic product grew by 0.4 percent, in line with economists’ forecasts.

Supermarket Tesco led declines, down 3.9 percent. Traders cited a downbeat note from JP Morgan, who retained a “underweight” rating on the stock.

“Tesco’s ability to generate cash flow in the foreseeable future could be more constrained than we thought before the results,” analysts at JP Morgan said in a note.

Payments processor Worldpay rose 2.5 percent after UBS raised its rating on the stock to “buy” from “neutral”. Exposure to online transactions and investments in new value-added services should help Worldpay outgrow its peers, UBS said.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

Courtesy : BRecorder



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