- Earnings from ARM, BP, BG Group coming in mixed
- FTSE 100 erases losses but still ends lower
- Markets consolidate before risk events, says analysts
techMARK 2,746.10 -0.75%
FTSE 100 6,449.27 -0.25%
FTSE 250 15,540.28 -0.12%
The FTSE 100 erased earlier losses, but still finished lower on Tuesday as mixed corporate earnings and ongoing concerns about global growth continued to weigh on market sentiment.
Investors were also showing nerves ahead of a number of so-called "risk events" later this week which have the potential to spark volatile swings on financial markets.
The European Central Bank is to convene for a policy meeting on Thursday and the decision will be closely watched given last month's surprise dip in inflation. Meanwhile, January's US jobs report is due out on Friday with traders waiting to see whether the recent severe weather has affected activity in the labour market.
"Equity markets are mainly consolidating before deciding on the next move," according to Brenda Kelly, Chief Market Strategist from IG.
London's benchmark index, which slumped to an intraday low of 6.416.72 early on, finished at 6,449.27, down just 16.39 points on the day.
Nevertheless, the downwards pressure followed steep falls in Asia overnight and on Wall Street on Monday with the S&P 500
and Dow Jones Industrial Average ending with their worst losses since June 2013.
Data yesterday showed that manufacturing activity in the States slowed considerably in January due to the harsh winter weather across many regions. Markets were also reacting to ongoing weakness in Chinese economic indicators.
Meanwhile, there were renewed worries about the US debt ceiling after Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew warned that the federal debt limit could be breached by the end of the month.
Results come in mixed
Chip designer ARM Holdings dropped sharply after its fourth-quarter results showed that Processor Division royalties came in below forecasts once again. Strong licensing revenues, however, helped top-line figures come in ahead of expectations.
Oil major BP managed to erase losses to finish flat after it reported a weaker bottom line for the fourth quarter, leading to a steep drop in underlying profits for 2013.
BG Group was higher after increasing fourth-quarter revenue and other operating income by 16% as it partly offset declines in Egypt and lower activity in the US by new developments coming onstream.
Electronics and maintenance products distributor Electrocomponents sank despite meeting estimates with underlying sales growth of 2% in the four months through January.
Online grocery group Ocado was lower after saying that annual losses widened significantly last year and that its co-founder and current Commercial Director is to retire.
In contrast, Premier Oil surged after the news that Chief Executive Simon Lockett is stepping down from the company after nine years in the role.
Polymer producer Victrex impressed after saying that sales rose 6% in the first quarter and that the second quarter has "started well".
Financial stocks finished with decent gains with Aberdeen, Hargreaves Lansdown and Prudential among the best performers.
Precious metal groups Randgold, Fresnillo and African Barrick Gold were tracking the prices of gold and silver lower.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 395.00p +4.86%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,497.00p +3.31%
Prudential (PRU) 1,242.00p +3.16%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 99.00p +2.86%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,436.50p +2.83%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,762.00p +2.83%
BG Group (BG.) 1,051.50p +2.59%
Tate & Lyle (TATE) 772.50p +2.39%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,435.00p +1.99%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,660.00p +1.53%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
ARM Holdings (ARM) 875.00p -5.91%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,319.00p -3.05%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,408.00p -1.95%
BAE Systems (BA.) 415.80p -1.89%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 297.10p -1.85%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,730.00p -1.82%
Kingfisher (KGF) 358.30p -1.73%
Pearson (PSON) 1,088.00p -1.72%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 218.55p -1.60%
Bunzl (BNZL) 1,369.00p -1.58%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Victrex plc (VCT) 1,947.00p +10.37%
Premier Oil (PMO) 291.10p +8.58%
Jupiter Fund Management (JUP) 379.00p +4.55%
Riverstone Energy Limited (RSE) 915.00p +3.98%
Bank of Georgia Holdings (BGEO) 2,210.00p +2.79%
Rotork (ROR) 2,453.00p +2.51%
Synthomer (SYNT) 276.40p +2.22%
Devro (DVO) 316.50p +2.10%
Northgate (NTG) 560.00p +2.00%
IP Group (IPO) 177.90p +1.95%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Electrocomponents (ECM) 252.40p -4.86%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 220.00p -4.64%
RPS Group (RPS) 325.00p -4.52%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 54.35p -4.31%
Evraz (EVR) 79.30p -4.17%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 4,737.00p -3.80%
Premier Farnell (PFL) 208.00p -3.75%
Homeserve (HSV) 307.00p -3.34%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 164.80p -3.23%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 149.70p -3.17%