LONDON (Reuters) - British shares fell on Wednesday, weighed down by losses among banks and housebuilders although they ended off lows hit on simmering geopolitical tensions in the Korean peninsula.
Britain's blue-chip FTSE 100 .FTSE ended down 0.25 percent at 7,354.13 points, with financials taking the most points off the index with shares in HSBC (HSBA.L), Prudential (PRU.L) and Barclays (BARC.L) down between 0.7 and 1.1 percent.
The biggest FTSE loser however was Barratt Developments (BDEV.L), down 4.6 percent after the housebuilder reported results and said it would continue to monitor “carefully” the impact of Brexit on its business.
Liberum analysts said some investors could be disappointed by Barratt’s lack of an update on its gross margin target.
“(Barratt’s) shares are our least preferred in the sector as its relatively lower margins make it more exposed to downside risk, and its relatively short landbank and high land creditors mean that it has less scope to reduce cash outflows in support of the dividend than the other returners,” they said in a note.
Smaller peer Berkeley (BKGH.L) fell 2.5 percent. The company said the London property market continued to be impacted by uncertainty surrounding Brexit and a property tax hike.
Other companies in the sector were also retreating, with Taylor Wimpey (TW.L) down 1.7 percent.
Royal Mail (RMG.L) was down 0.7 percent after Britain’s Communications Workers Union said it would ballot more than 100,000 of its members over industrial action.
Easyjet (EZJ.L) was down 0.4 percent at 1150p after HSBC cut its target price to 1550p from 1600p.
Glaxosmithkline (GSK.L) fell 0.5 percent after Credit Suisse cut its target price to 1725p from 1775p.
Micro Focus (MCRO.L) shares surged 6.2 percent after its third quarter results.
Additional reporting by Danilo Masoni; Editing by Catherine Evans