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LONDON (Reuters) - A rally in Worldpay shares to a record high was not enough to offset a broad-based decline among British shares on Wednesday, after a strong start to the second half for the UK's top share index.
Britain's blue-chip FTSE 100 index ended down 0.3 percent at 7,357.23 points, having broken a four-day losing streak in the previous session. Mid caps declined 0.1 percent.
Payment processor Worldpay rocketed 27.7 percent after news it received competing bids from U.S. credit card technology firm Vantiv and JPMorgan Chase Bank. Analysts said other companies might now be interested in bidding.
"We believe Worldpay is a unique asset, and the current interest from two U.S. peers could also trigger the intention of parties like Google, Amazon, Apple," a note from Mediobanca Securities said.
This comes after Danish peer Nets rose in the previous session when it confirmed that it had received an offer from potential buyers.
Tuesday saw banking stocks ease 0.8 percent, following strong gains in the previous session. Oil stocks ended flat as oil prices stabilised near $50 a barrel on signs that U.S. crude production may be slowing.
Shares in BP fell 0.3 percent. HSBC and Standard Chartered were 1.1 percent and 0.6 percent lower.
Results helped shares in grocer Sainsbury edge around 0.3 percent higher. Britain's second-largest supermarket said sales growth accelerated in its latest quarter, helped by inflation and warm weather.
Shares in peer Morrison nudged 0.4 percent higher. Tesco was down 0.1 percent.
The impact of inflation, both on wages and on the cost of food imports, has been a cause for concern for British supermarkets since sterling's drop after Britain voted to leave the European Union last June.
"You've got the dual impact of higher prices which is pushing revenue up. What we don't see today is the effect that has on (Sainsbury's) cost, so it's a bit of a double-edged sword," George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said.
"My overall impression is that while things are moving forwards, the headwinds are looking strong as well, so it's just a tough time for the sector."
Outside the blue chips, small-cap Imagination Technologies jumped around 9 percent after reporting full year results, saying it had returned to profitability.
Its shares remain down nearly 40 percent this year after Apple, its biggest customer, said in April it would stop using Imagination's graphics technology in its new products.
Reporting by Kit Rees; Additional reporting by Danilo Masoni; Editing by Janet Lawrence