- Admiral shares
drop as H1 revenues fall
- Markets await FOMC minutes for rate-hike clues
- Chinese inflation eases
- Alcoa beats forecasts as Q2 earnings season gets underway
techMARK 2,783.11 -0.39%
FTSE 100 6,721.47 -0.25%
FTSE 250 15,601.53 -0.33%
UK stocks fell for a third straight day on Wednesday as investors continued to show caution after the recent rally, with the focus on minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting due out this evening.
A steep drop in the share price of Admiral was weighing on markets early on after a disappointing first-half update from the insurer.
The FTSE 100 was trading nearly 0.3% lower at 6,721 after finishing Tuesday's session at 6,738.45, its lowest close since June 26th.
The index had come within touching distance of multi-year highs when it settled at 6,866.05 on Friday 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.
"While we don't expect too many surprises from them, given recent commentary from some Fed officials the market could well be underestimating the timing of a rise in interest rates in the US," said Michael Hewson, Chief Market Analyst at CMC Markets UK.
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 falling revenues
Car insurer Admiral reported a 9% decline in revenues in the first half despite an increase in customers, as premiums fell on last year. "In the UK there are some signs that premiums are no longer falling but we have yet to see firm evidence of an inflection point and a return to premium growth," said Chief Executive Henry Engelhardt.
Insurance peers Aviva and Standard Life were also trading lower this morning.
Airline stocks easyJet and IAG were performing well as shares recovered after 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
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 5,080.00p +2.48%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,275.00p +2.16%
Fresnillo (FRES) 937.50p +1.85%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 341.50p +1.67%
Royal Mail (RMG) 473.20p +0.98%
Whitbread (WTB) 4,308.00p +0.94%
GKN (GKN) 355.40p +0.85%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,510.50p +0.67%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 456.50p +0.66%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,703.00p +0.53%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,481.00p -5.91%
Aviva (AV.) 498.00p -2.83%
Next (NXT) 6,355.00p -2.16%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,305.00p -1.88%
St James's Place (STJ) 754.00p -1.76%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 421.90p -1.29%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 72.45p -1.25%
Barclays (BARC) 211.30p -1.12%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 224.00p -1.06%
BAE Systems (BA.) 416.30p -0.88%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Ocado Group (OCDO) 400.60p +2.53%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 114.60p +1.78%
Spirent Communications (SPT) 97.00p +1.25%
Ophir Energy (OPHR) 214.30p +1.04%
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 128.20p +1.02%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 164.60p +0.98%
Greencore Group (GNC) 271.60p +0.97%
Hellermanntyton Group (HTY) 322.30p +0.94%
Galliford Try (GFRD) 1,193.00p +0.93%
Aberforth Smaller Companies Trust (ASL) 1,067.00p +0.85%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Domino Printing Sciences (DNO) 577.50p -2.94%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 739.00p -2.76%
Atkins (WS) (ATK) 1,290.00p -2.49%
Provident Financial (PFG) 2,145.00p -2.46%
Exova Group (EXO) 240.10p -2.40%
Booker Group (BOK) 128.20p -2.14%
Vesuvius (VSVS) 448.30p -2.05%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 67.30p -2.04%
Riverstone Energy Limited (RSE) 900.50p -1.96%
Betfair Group (BET) 1,008.00p -1.75%