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UK shares edge down, mixed earnings and weaker commodities weigh
May 14, 2015 / 8:32 AM / 3 years ago

UK shares edge down, mixed earnings and weaker commodities weigh

* FTSE 100 down 0.1 pct, in line with Europe

* Mixed set of earnings, weaker commodities weigh

* Dovish Bank of England stance offers support

By Lionel Laurent

LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) - Britain’s blue-chip FTSE 100 index edged down on Thursday - broadly in line with European shares, hit by a persistent bond-market sell-off - after a mixed bag of corporate earnings and weaker commodity prices.

The FTSE was down 0.1 percent by 0756 GMT, with the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index off 0.1 percent.

While Britain has not been immune to spreading jitters from the bond market sell-off, it has been supported by dovish statements from the Bank of England.

“U.S. and UK stocks appear to be preferred versus German stocks for now, mainly because any increases in interest rates in the U.S. and the UK aren’t imminent and on hold for now,” Peregrine & Black senior sales trader, Markus Huber, said. “Economic growth worries (are) hampering exporters.”

Shares in ITV fell 1.6 percent after it forecast a sharper-than-expected drop in advertising revenue in the current quarter, overshadowing a strong start to the year.

Several stocks went ex-dividend, including Sainsbury , down 2.8 percent, and drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline , down 2.1 percent. UBS analysts also downgraded Glaxo to “neutral” from “buy”, saying company updates on cost structure had led them to cut earnings estimates.

Weaker commodities prices saw energy and mining stocks including Royal Dutch Shell, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto fall more than 1 percent. Vedanta Resources reported a 16.7 percent drop in full-year core earnings as oil and iron prices declined.

There were some more positive earnings updates from private-equity group 3i, whose stock rose 2.4 percent after it emerged from restructuring with a strong set of results. Leisure company Merlin also gained after it said sales were boosted by demand at its theme parks.

Construction group Balfour Beatty reaffirmed its cash targets in a trading statement. Its stock fell 0.3 percent. (Editing by Louise Ireland)

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