- Admiral, Aviva lead markets lower
- FTSE 100 on track for worst finish since late April
- Retailers fall as UK retail prices fall 1.8%
- Investors nervous ahead of Fed minutes
techMARK 2,777.53 -0.59%
FTSE 100 6,708.55 -0.44%
FTSE 250 15,526.79 -0.80%
UK stocks were heading for their worst finish in over two and a half months on Wednesday as investors showed caution ahead of minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting.
London's FTSE 100 was in the red for the third straight day, heading towards the 6,700 level, as traders continued to take profits following the recent rally.
Insurance stocks were the worst performers after a disappointing outlook from Admiral and an underwhelming turnaround plan from Aviva, while retailers fell after data showed a drop in UK retail sales in June.
The FTSE 100 was down over 0.4% at 6,709 by midday; it has not closed below this level since it settled at 6,700.16 on April 28th.
The index had come within touching distance of multi-year highs when it finished at 6,866.05 at the end of last week following the much better-than-expected US jobs report. However, optimism has been quickly dampened by concerns that a stronger economy may prompt the Fed to begin raising interest rates earlier than expected, with a number of analysts bringing forward their forecasts for the first rate hike in recent days. Minutes of the June 17-18th Federal Open Market Committee meeting will be released at 17:00.
Consumer price data from China was also making headlines this morning after inflation eased more than estimated to 2.3% in June, down from 2.5% the month before and well below the level targeted by the central bank.
On a positive note, aluminium group Alcoa kicked off second-quarter US earnings season strongly on Tuesday night with a return to profit on the back of lower restructuring and cost-cutting measures. Adjusted earnings per share rose to 18 cents from seven cents, beating the 12 cents consensus forecast.
Admiral disappoints with first half, cautious outlook
Car insurer Admiral disappointed the market with a gloomy outlook as it reported a decline in revenues in the first half, saying that a return to growth in premiums still remains elusive. Despite higher customer numbers, turnover fell from £1.1bn to £1bn in the first six months of the year as premiums fell 9%.
also dropped 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.
Insurance peers esure, St. James's Place and Standard Life were also trading lower this morning.
Retail stocks were off shopping lists this morning after the British Retail Consortium revealed UK retail prices fell 1.8% in June, driven by cheaper electricals, furniture and clothes.
This was the biggest annual decline since the survey began in December 2006, causing shares in Dunlem, Home Retail, Pets at Home and Debenhams to fall. Food wholesaler Booker also declined after a first-quarter trading update.
Airline stocks easyJet and IAG were performing well as shares recovered following a heavy sell-off on Tuesday on the back of a profit warning from Air France-KLM.
Pubs group JD Wetherspoon was out of favour after reporting that sales have slowed in recent weeks as England crashed out of the World Cup.
Bottling firm Coca-Cola HBC and high street retailer Next in negative territory today after going ex-dividend, along with WS Atkins, Carphone Warehouse, Entertainment One and Vedanta Resources.
FTSE 100 - Risers
easyJet (EZJ) 1,288.00p +3.21%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 5,055.00p +1.98%
Royal Mail (RMG) 473.80p +1.11%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 339.40p +1.04%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,708.00p +0.83%
Fresnillo (FRES) 928.00p +0.81%
CRH (CRH) 1,504.00p +0.67%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,203.00p +0.63%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,508.00p +0.50%
Kingfisher (KGF) 345.10p +0.35%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,480.00p -5.97%
Aviva (AV.) 494.30p -3.55%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,150.00p -2.71%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,296.00p -2.56%
Next (NXT) 6,330.00p -2.54%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,178.00p -2.08%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,239.00p -2.06%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 420.20p -1.68%
Barclays (BARC) 210.20p -1.64%
TUI Travel (TT.) 374.50p -1.50%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 167.00p +2.45%
COLT Group SA (COLT) 141.20p +2.32%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 114.80p +1.95%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 322.50p +1.77%
Spirent Communications (SPT) 97.40p +1.67%
Greencore Group (GNC) 273.30p +1.60%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 376.90p +1.34%
Fenner (FENR) 361.70p +1.32%
Ophir Energy (OPHR) 214.80p +1.27%
Unite Group (UTG) 396.60p +0.99%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 785.00p -3.80%
Howden Joinery Group (HWDN) 301.60p -3.73%
Vesuvius (VSVS) 441.10p -3.63%
Atkins (WS) (ATK) 1,277.00p -3.48%
Xaar (XAR) 491.00p -3.44%
Rightmove (RMV) 2,095.00p -3.32%
SIG (SHI) 169.30p -3.26%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 342.60p -3.11%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 736.50p -3.09%
AO World (AO.) 230.90p -2.82%