August 6, 2018 / 8:57 AM / 7 months ago

FTSE supported by oil stocks; HSBC eases

MILAN (Reuters) - Britain’s top share index ticked higher on Monday as energy stocks tracked rising oil prices, while HSBC fell after its earnings update failed to impress.

A broker reacts on the IG Index the trading floor in London, Britain February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

The FTSE 100 .FTSE ended the session up 0.1 percent at 7,663.78 points, also supported by a further fall in the pound on worries over Britain's exit from the EU, although the index remained within the tight range of recent weeks.

Mid caps .FTMC were flat in percentage terms.

HSBC (HSBA.L) fell 1 percent following mixed results. Europe’s biggest bank posted a small rise in first-half pre-tax profit, as rising expenses from investments in a new growth strategy and a $765 million settlement for alleged mis-selling of U.S. mortgage securities ate into higher revenues.

“We do not see consensus moving much on these results and shares likely to be in a holding pattern until evidence of delivery on operating leverage,” said Jefferies analysts in a note, affirming their buy rating on the stock.

They said profit before tax beat expectations partly thanks to better credit income, while revenues missed forecasts.

Miners were also a weak spot as copper prices fell for a third session in four, although heavyweight oil companies BP (BP.L) and Royal Dutch Shell rose 1.1 and 0.6 percent respectively as crude prices rose after Saudi crude production registered a surprising dip in July.

Among mid caps, IWG (IWG.L) plunged 20.5 percent after the provider of serviced offices abandoned takeover talks with its three remaining suitors.

Spire Health (SPI.L) also lost more than one fifth of its value to hit a record low after the healthcare firm warned of sharply lower full-year core earnings on lower referrals from Britain’s publicly funded healthcare system.

UK shares have outperformed their euro zone counterparts since the end of April, although some investors have turned less upbeat over their prospects.

Credit Suisse downgraded UK equities to benchmark on Monday, citing its more cautious view on commodities and the expectation that sterling had already experienced most of its decline.

Reporting by Danilo Masoni and Kit Rees; Editing by Mark Potter

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