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Britain's FTSE set for biggest one-month fall since Nov. 2016
April 28, 2017 / 9:48 AM / 7 months ago

Britain's FTSE set for biggest one-month fall since Nov. 2016

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* FTSE 100 down 0.2 pct

* Blue chips set for biggest monthly loss since November

* Barclays drops after Q1 results

* Micro Focus helped by broker note

By Kit Rees

LONDON, April 28 (Reuters) - Britain’s top share index dipped on Friday as disappointing results weighed on banking heavyweight Barclays, with UK blue chips on track for their biggest one-month loss since November 2016.

The blue chip FTSE 100 index was down 0.2 percent at 7,220.13 points by 0920 GMT, in line with a broader fall across European equity markets.

Shares in Barclays dropped more than 4 percent, putting the bank on track for its biggest one-day loss since the aftermath of Britain’s referendum vote to leave the European Union last June.

While Barclays’ first quarter profit more than doubled, a weak performance at its investment banking arm disappointed as the bank missed out on a bond trading boom which boosted bond trading revenues at its U.S. peers.

The U.S. accounts for 34 percent of Barclays’ revenue, its second-biggest region after the UK.

“Taking a bit of a longer-term view, Barclays is still in a state of recovery and is moving towards its goal of being a UK retail bank and a transatlantic corporate bank, but this particularly quarter I think the results were a little bit disappointing compared to what analysts were expecting,” Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said.

Barclays results contrast with well-received updates from peers Lloyds and RBS, which gained 2 percent after reporting its results for the first quarter.

Shares in Mediclinic dropped more than 5 percent, pulling back after a 17.5 percent jump in the previous session after Abu Dhabi cancelled a 20 percent co-payment requirement for treatment at private facilities.

Miners were among the top gainers, however, with Antofagasta , BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Glencore and Anglo American all up between 1.9 percent to 2.3 percent as the price of copper edged higher.

Shares in Micro Focus jumped 1.5 percent, supported by a positive note from Deutsche Bank which began its coverage of the British mainframe computers operator with a “buy” rating.

“Micro Focus’ strategy is to acquire mature software assets at attractive valuations with significant scope for operational and cost improvement,” analysts at Deutsche Bank said in a note.

“We believe the current share price applies a conservative discount to the proposed synergies from the HP Software deal,” Deutsche Bank analysts added.

The FTSE 100 index was set to post a monthly decline of 1.4 percent, its biggest since last November, struggling in April after British Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap general election which has kept sterling at 6-month highs.

Coupled with uncertainty around Brexit negotiations, a stronger currency has weighed on the index’s dollar-earning firms, which enjoyed an accounting boost after sterling’s 8 percent plunge in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote.

The UK’s GDP reading for the first quarter also came in weaker than expected as a rise in inflation hit consumer-facing businesses, with the economy slowing sharply.

“For the same reason that the weakening pound meant a rising stockmarket after Brexit, a rising pound has meant a bit of a fall back in the stockmarket since the election was announced,” Hargreaves Lansdown’s Khalaf said. (Reporting by Kit Rees; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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