- CCH, Old Mutual, Randgold, Mondi disappoint
- Russia-West tensions high after food import ban
- BoE holds rates, ECB expected to do same
techMARK 2,711.50 -0.13%
FTSE 100 6,619.52 -0.25%
FTSE 250 15,244.89 -0.12%
UK stocks were trading at their lowest levels since mid-April on Thursday morning with investors watching central banks and geopolitical tensions between Russia and the West.
The Bank of England (BoE) and European Central Bank (ECB) were in focus with the central banks both set to vote on monetary policy. The BoE said at noon that it held interest rates at the record-low level of 0.5% and kept its asset purchase programme unchanged at £375bn.
Blue chips Coca-Cola HBC, Old Mutual, Randgold Resources and Mondi were all providing a drag on the FTSE 100 after each company disappointed with their first-half results, while Drax and Henderson sank sharply on the second-tier index.
The Footsie was down 0.3% at 6,620 just after midday, having closed Wednesday's session at 6,636.16 - its lowest finish since April 17th - as risk appetite was dampened by weak economic data and a build-up of Russian troops along the eastern border of Ukraine.
Nato has said that the significant increase of Russian troops near Ukraine over the last few days is of "great concern" amid fears that Moscow is readying to invade. Meanwhile, Russia has denied the allegations, saying that comments from Nato are misleading.
Meanwhile, in response to the latest round of Western sanctions the Kremlin has imposed a ban on imports of agricultural goods from the US and European Union for up to one year.
In economic news on Thursday, German industrial production rose by just 0.3% in June after a revised 1.7% fall the previous month, though the rebound was much worse than the 1.2% growth expected. The figures followed data on Wednesday showing an unexpected drop in German factory orders in June.
CCH disappoints with volume guidance
Bottling firm Coca-Cola HBC slumped after saying unfriendly consumer sentiment and foreign exchange
headwinds looked unlikely to improve during 2014 as it downgraded its volume expectations for the year as a whole.
Financial services group Old Mutual declined after saying that adjusted operating profits fell 5% in the first half as a result of a weaker South African rand.
Precious metals miner Randgold Resources slipped after gold output in the second quarter fell 2% on the first three months of the year. Nevertheless, the company said it is still on track to hit its production guidance for 2014.
Meanwhile, packaging group Mondi underwhelmed with a 3% rise in first-half underlying operating profit, as revenues fell over the year..
Shares in energy group Drax slumped after UK courts said one of its power-generating units is not eligible for government subsidies.
Investment group Henderson dropped 6% after first-half results failed to meet the market's expectations. Assets under management fell nearly 6% over the second quarter as improvements in retail were offset by falls in the institutional business.
Miner Rio Tinto was on the rise after it hailed an "outstanding performance" in the first half as underlying earnings jumped 21% and cash flow generation increased 8%, with the miner topping its cash cost reduction target ahead of schedule.
Aviva gained after delivering half-year improvements in its five key metrics, increasing cash flow, operating profits and new business, as well as cutting both costs and its combined operating ratio. However, insurance peer RSA declined after net written premiums fell 9% in the first half.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Aviva (AV.) 502.00p +2.51%
G4S (GFS) 255.80p +2.44%
Sage Group (SGE) 377.40p +1.81%
Carnival (CCL) 2,173.00p +1.78%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 866.00p +1.70%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,442.00p +1.52%
Royal Mail (RMG) 409.90p +1.51%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 235.10p +1.34%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,223.00p +1.24%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 1,030.00p +1.18%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,322.00p -3.85%
Old Mutual (OML) 188.60p -2.73%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,538.00p -2.04%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 5,055.00p -1.94%
Shire Plc (SHP) 4,591.00p -1.90%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 2,236.00p -1.84%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,003.00p -1.67%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 341.10p -1.44%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 811.00p -1.40%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,062.00p -1.30%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Elementis (ELM) 274.50p +3.82%
Cobham (COB) 297.90p +3.80%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 269.00p +3.62%
Savills (SVS) 595.00p +3.57%
Spirax-Sarco Engineering (SPX) 2,783.00p +3.38%
Victrex plc (VCT) 1,635.00p +2.77%
Domino's Pizza Group (DOM) 562.50p +2.27%
Pets at Home Group (PETS) 187.60p +2.23%
Fenner (FENR) 334.20p +1.92%
Kennedy Wilson Europe Real Estate (KWE) 1,071.00p +1.81%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Drax Group (DRX) 634.00p -10.70%
Henderson Group (HGG) 225.80p -6.50%
Xaar (XAR) 546.50p -4.04%
COLT Group SA (COLT) 131.90p -2.94%
ITE Group (ITE) 195.00p -2.50%
Stock Spirits Group (STCK) 301.00p -2.43%
Serco Group (SRP) 328.30p -2.32%
Supergroup (SGP) 1,021.00p -2.02%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 127.50p -2.00%
Evraz (EVR) 98.75p -1.94%