- FTSE 100 closes down 20.41 at 6,718.04
- Admiral and Aviva lead downside
- Attentions turn to tonight's Fed minutes
techMARK 2,782.15 -0.43%
FTSE 100 6,718.04 -0.30%
FTSE 250 15,549.63 -0.66%
It was a weak finish for the top tier index, which dropped below the 6,700 level in the first hour of trade and struggled to move significantly higher in this afternoon's trading.
The downside was led by the insurance sector, while the release of the Fed minutes at 19:00 are now very much at the front of traders' minds.
Ultimately, the FTSE closed down 20.41 points at 6,718.04.
IG Market Analyst Chris Beauchamp gave his assessment of the day, saying insurers have conspired to keep the FTSE down after both Admiral and Aviva dropped, taking the rest of the sector with it.
"The trading update this morning rather scuppered the rally in the share price, which had until yesterday stood at three-year highs," he said. "Evidently the company has aimed at getting the bad news out of the way, and the sound of earnings revisions could be heard across the City today, but Admiral will need to plot a steady course now to avoid taking on more water."
Amongst the limited number of economic releases was the UK retail prices in June from the British Retail Consortium (BRC), which showed that prices declined 1.8% in June versus a year ago.
The drop marked the biggest annual declines since the survey began in December 2006. Non-food prices dropped a record 3.4% while food prices increased by 0.6% - the smallest ever gain.
In other UK news, figures from Halifax indicated that the housing market cooled slightly in May and June, although underlying prices continue to rise. Monthly numbers of home sales dipped 3% during May to fall below 100,000 for the first time in six months, though transaction numbers were still much higher year-on-year.
Stocks gain ahead of Fed meeting minutes
The Fed will unveil its notes from its June 17-18th meeting, when the central bank cut monthly bond purchases by $10bn to $35bn. At the time Fed Chair Janet Yellen had said interest rates will probably stay low for a considerable time.
"It's unlikely Fed members will have deviated too much from recent statements in the minutes; but in such a bullish market, just holding the course may be enough to push stocks back up again," according to Jasper Lawler at CMC Markets.
"The biggest risk to the rally in stocks out of the Fed minutes will be any implication of a rate hike happening sooner than expected due to an improving labour market and rising inflation."
Admiral and Aviva lead the way lower
Car insurer Admiral slid lower after delivering a gloomy outlook as it reported a decline in revenues in the first half, saying that a return to growth in premiums still remained elusive. Despite higher customer numbers, turnover fell from £1.1bn to £1bn in the first six months of the year, as premiums declined 9%.
also headed south, despite the company saying at a capital markets day that it plans to double cashflow over the next two years and reduce its debt as part of an overhaul. "We have made some progress at Aviva and it is time to move to the next phase of the turnaround," said Chief Executive Mark Wilson.
Retailers Next and Marks & Spencer were hit by the news from the BRC.
Meanwhile, airline stocks easyJet and IAG showed signs of recovering following a heavy sell-off on Tuesday, which came on the back of a profit warning from peer Air France-KLM.
Randgold Resources and African Barrick Gold were helped higher by a rising gold price, while Hammerson was lifted by Deutsche Bank, which upped its target price by 30p to 530p.
FTSE 100 - Risers
easyJet (EZJ) 1,287.00p +3.12%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 5,095.00p +2.78%
CRH (CRH) 1,516.00p +1.47%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 340.00p +1.22%
Hammerson (HMSO) 578.50p +1.22%
Fresnillo (FRES) 929.00p +0.92%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 914.00p +0.77%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 817.50p +0.74%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,704.00p +0.59%
Glencore (GLEN) 346.10p +0.58%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Aviva (AV.) 493.90p -3.63%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,522.00p -3.30%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 418.00p -2.20%
Next (NXT) 6,365.00p -2.00%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,918.00p -1.94%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,180.00p -1.91%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 875.50p -1.85%
Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,250.00p -1.65%
Pearson (PSON) 1,109.00p -1.60%
TUI Travel (TT.) 374.50p -1.50%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Cairn Energy (CNE) 202.90p +4.75%
Just Eat (JE.) 249.00p +3.92%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 274.50p +2.89%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 326.00p +2.87%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 115.60p +2.66%
RPS Group (RPS) 281.80p +2.66%
Greencore Group (GNC) 276.00p +2.60%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 167.00p +2.45%
Spirent Communications (SPT) 98.10p +2.40%
BlackRock World Mining Trust (BRWM) 485.10p +1.59%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,206.00p -5.49%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 776.50p -4.84%
Tullett Prebon (TLPR) 242.30p -4.08%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 339.30p -4.04%
Just Retirement Group (JRG) 141.00p -3.95%
Bodycote (BOY) 672.50p -3.17%
PayPoint (PAY) 1,072.00p -3.16%
Bwin.party Digital Entertainment (BPTY) 89.50p -3.14%
Home Retail Group (HOME) 171.00p -3.12%
Vesuvius (VSVS) 444.10p -2.97%