- FTSE closes down 34.31 at 6,773.44
- Energy stocks hit by Russian sanctions
- Eurozone confidence beats expectations
- US GDP growth 4%
techMARK 2,779.29 -0.11%
FTSE 100 6,773.44 -0.50%
FTSE 250 15,629.84 -0.36%
London's blue chips ended Wednesday's session firmly in the red, with the sharpest decline seen around the opening of US markets, which saw the Dow Jones fall thanks to energy stocks, which were weighed down by concerns about the sanctions that were imposed on Russia.
The FTSE 100 closed down 34.31 points at 6,773.44.
Looking at the wider picture across Europe, CMC Markets UK analyst Jasper Lawler said: "Markets snapped out of a quiet morning when the advanced second quarter growth domestic product (GDP) growth figure for the US beat what appeared to be already optimistic forecasts with a stellar 4% growth rate."
He continued: "Despite a brief lift from the US GDP report the FTSE was mostly slumped in negative territory with the oil and gas sector dragging the index lower with Shell, BP and BG Group all in the red over upcoming energy sanctions against Russia.
"The energy sector is most exposed because any retaliation from Russia against the sanctions, however unlikely would probably come through its oil and gas market supply dominance. Listed in the FTSE are some of the world's largest oil companies."
UK firms less optimistic about prospects and jobs in July
British companies were less optimistic about their prospects in July and fewer firms expect to increase staff numbers in the next year, a survey showed.
Companies' expectations of their own prospects fell slightly this month, with the overall net balance of firms expecting their trading prospects to increase in the next year easing two points to 53%, according to the monthly Lloyds Business Barometer.
Eurozone confidence beats expectations
Across the Channel, Eurozone economic confidence rose more than expected in July. The sentiment index climbed to 102.2 from 102.1 in June, beating analysts' estimates for the reading to fall to 101.9.
Another euro-area report showed German inflation rose 0.8%, on an annual basis, in July, as expected, easing back from a reading of 1% for June.
Lawler believes the disinflation in France and several periphery countries is likely to limit the overall consumer price inflation (CPI) figure for the Eurozone, despite the slight pick up seen in the German number to 0.3% [on the month].
Over in the States, data showed that the economy expanded at an annualised pace of 4% in the second quarter of 2014, bouncing back strongly from a steep contraction in the weather-disrupted first quarter.
The estimate smashed economists' predictions, who had on average expected GDP to rise by a lesser 3%.
Meanwhile, the American private sector added fewer-than-expected jobs in July, as hiring cooled after the strongest reading in 19 months in June.
According to ADP, private-sector payrolls increased by 218,000 in July, below the 230,000 consensus forecast.
Barclays leads upside
Barclays was in the top spot after reporting a less-than-expected 12% fall in total income adjusted for insurance claims for the first half to £13.32bn, driven by reductions at its investment and African banking units. The consensus estimate had been for a drop to £13.23bn.
Numis Securities reiterated a 'buy' recommendation for the stock, saying that "Investment Bank revenues were better than feared, the balance sheet is strengthening and the non-core run-off is progressing well".Espirito Santo, Deutsche Bank and Santander also kept their 'buy' ratings for Barclays.
Sector peers HSBC, Barclays and Lloyds were all also higher.
Housebuilder Travis Perkins also impressed as it reported double-digit growth across the board in the first half, with like-for-like revenues up 10.2% and profits up 16%. The company said it expects "continued solid growth" for the rest of the year.
Astrazeneca was in demand after it struck a deal with drug developer Almirall for the rights to the Spanish group's respiratory franchise. The initial consideration is $875m.
On the downside, Chile-focused mining group Antofagasta underwhelmed as it maintained its production guidance for 2014 after a sequential increase in output in the second quarter, while net cash costs were broadly flat.
GKN retreated following yesterday's gains which came after the group soared into the top spot after saying that a good performance by its automotive business fuelled 6% higher profits at the engineering group in the first half to £296m. However, a strong pound saw sales fall 1%.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Barclays (BARC) 228.40p +4.24%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,689.00p +2.67%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 362.90p +2.51%
Capita (CPI) 1,235.00p +1.65%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 5,295.00p +1.44%
Carnival (CCL) 2,155.00p +1.32%
IMI (IMI) 1,439.00p +1.20%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 852.00p +1.19%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 76.41p +1.03%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 4,357.50p +0.81%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Antofagasta (ANTO) 816.00p -4.56%
GKN (GKN) 351.30p -4.02%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 313.80p -2.94%
Compass Group (CPG) 983.00p -2.48%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 2,048.00p -2.29%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 421.10p -2.23%
CRH (CRH) 1,431.00p -2.19%
St James's Place (STJ) 755.00p -2.08%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 171.00p -2.01%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,804.00p -1.99%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Pets at Home Group (PETS) 182.00p +7.06%
Tullett Prebon (TLPR) 249.20p +3.83%
ICAP (IAP) 360.90p +2.88%
Perform Group (PER) 212.10p +2.32%
Premier Oil (PMO) 329.40p +2.23%
Ophir Energy (OPHR) 214.50p +2.14%
Diploma (DPLM) 638.00p +2.08%
Phoenix Group Holdings (DI) (PHNX) 707.00p +1.95%
AO World (AO.) 197.00p +1.91%
Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 185.40p +1.87%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Pace (PIC) 337.40p -6.77%
International Personal Finance (IPF) 548.50p -6.40%
Jupiter Fund Management (JUP) 394.00p -5.08%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 158.80p -4.91%
Dignity (DTY) 1,333.00p -3.55%
RPC Group (RPC) 585.00p -2.99%
Investec (INVP) 519.00p -2.99%
Spectris (SXS) 1,906.00p -2.76%
Keller Group (KLR) 890.00p -2.52%
Just Eat (JE.) 205.50p -2.14%