March 2, 2017 / 11:05 AM / 2 years ago

FTSE ends flat, off life-time high; Capita slumps

A worker shelters from the rain under a Union Flag umbrella as he passes the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain, October 1, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s top share index steadied after hitting a record high on Thursday, with a slump in Capita, which missed its profit target and announced the departure of its chief executive, weighing.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index .FTSE ended flat after touching an all-time peak of 7,394.61 points during the session. The benchmark index has surged more than 27 percent since a post-Brexit sell-off in June.

Capita (CPI.L) slumped more than 9 percent, the biggest decliner in the index, as the British outsourcing group said its chief executive Andy Parker would step down after the group reported a 19 percent fall in 2016 underlying pre-tax profit, missing forecasts again.

After a string of profit warnings and doubts over its strategic direction, Capita said it did not expect sustainable profit growth before 2018. Index provider FTSE Russell said the stock would drop out of the FTSE 100 index following a sharp fall in its price in the past months.

“Full year results ... appear close to our downgraded expectations. However, the consequences of recent events are set to continue to impact the group in the current year and we remain cautious,” Shore Capital analyst Robin Speakman said.

Capita, which provides IT-enabled services to banks and investors, the national health service, retailers and utilities, has been forced to cut costs and dispose of assets to make its debt more manageable after a period of slower contract awards.

Builders’ merchant Travis Perkins (TPK.L) was also hit after reporting a slump in 2016 profit and a downbeat outlook. Its shares plunged more than 6 percent.

Among gainers, ConvaTec (CTEC.L) surged more than 5 percent after the British medical devices firm reported an 8 percent increase in annual operating profit for last year.

Among mid-caps, industrial firm Vesuvius (VSVS.L) surged 18 percent to its highest level since the middle of 2008 after announcing higher dividend and revenues.

Reporting by Kit Rees and Atul Prakash; editing by John Stonestreet

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