(ADVISORY- Follow European and UK stock markets in real time on
the Reuters Live Markets blog on Eikon, see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets)
* FTSE 100 down 0.2 pct
* AB Foods falls again
* Intu comes under pressure from downgrade
* Margin caution hits Ocado
By Alistair Smout
LONDON, Sept 13 Britain's top share index
steadied on Tuesday after a steep drop in the previous session,
although broker downgrades on Associated British Foods and Intu
Properties kept shares under pressure.
The FTSE 100 was down 0.2 percent at 6,685.90 by
0833 GMT, underperforming flat continental European indexes.
It stabilised after a more than 1 percent fall on Monday.
Global equities were buoyed after U.S. Federal Reserve official
Lael Brainard gave a dovish speech after the European markets
closed on Monday, quelling concern that the Fed might raise
interest rates as soon as next week.
Associated British Foods fell 2.4 percent, a top
faller on the index, taking falls this week to over 12.5
The stock fell steeply on Monday after results, hit by
lacklustre trading at its flagship Primark chain. On Tuesday, it
suffered a spate of broker downgrades.
"With a third successive year of Primark margin falls now
expected for 16/17, we ... see double-digit downside to the
stock," said analysts at Jefferies in a note. The broker
downgraded AB Foods to "underperform", and is one of the most
accurate analysts on the stock.
Intu Properties dropped 1.9 percent after being
cut to "sell" from "hold" by Deutsche Bank.
Oil and gas stocks came under pressure, down
1.1 percent as crude prices fell back.
There were more dramatic moves in the mid-cap FTSE 250
. Ocado slumped 12.7 percent after the online
grocer warned of sustained margin pressure due to an intensely
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said that while
its volume performance was its best in over five years, "the
group is not immune to the supermarket price war and is
seeing sustained and continuing pressure on its margins."
Among risers, sports retailer JD Sports rose as much
as 10 percent to a record high after a jump in first half
revenue and profit.
(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Janet Lawrence)