LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s top equity index slipped off two-month highs on Monday, weighed down by a fall in advertising group WPP, while TalkTalk’s losses worsened in the wake of a cyber attack.
Commodity shares also fell as key industrial metals and oil dropped. The UK mining index and the oil and gas index fell 1.4 percent and 1.1 percent respectively, dragged down by declines of between 1.0 and 3.1 percent in Anglo American, Glencore, Royal Dutch Shell and BP.
WPP fell 2.2 percent to feature among the top decliners in the FTSE 100 index. WPP reported its sales growth had accelerated in the third quarter, but some traders said the numbers were not strong enough to justify a further rally in the stock, which had risen nearly 10 percent over the last month.
“WPP numbers looked OK, just below expectations of 3.4 percent on a like-for-like basis, but we shouldn’t also ignore the fact that the comparatives were quite favourable also, so naturally there is a bit of disappointment from these numbers,” said XTB Ltd director Joshua Raymond.
TalkTalk, which is in the FTSE 250 mid-cap index rather than the blue-chip FTSE 100, extended the previous session’s sharp losses and was down 12.3 percent, as it grappled with the effects of a cyber attack, first disclosed on Friday.
However, David Battersby, investment manager at Redmayne-Bentley, said he was looking to potentially buy Talk Talk shares, adding that in his opinion the market had overreacted.
He did not see a steep reduction in TalkTalk’s customer base and said that recent price declines, along with its dividend yield of around 6 percent, had made the stock quite attractive.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index ended 0.4 percent lower at 6,417.02 points, having risen 1.1 percent on Friday to its highest level in two months.
On the positive side, Aberdeen Asset Management rose 2.9 percent, the top gainer in the FTSE 100 index. The company denied press speculation it was looking for a buyer, but an earlier Financial Times report that it was courting suitors was enough to stoke bid hopes and push up its shares.
Analysts at RBC said Aberdeen was unlikely to look to sell after losing 25 percent of its stock market value since April.
“It is our belief that there is no sale process under way ... We would be surprised if Aberdeen sold from a position of weakness, which we believe it is currently in,” analysts at RBC said in a note.
The FTSE 100 is down around 2 percent since the start of 2015 and some 10 percent below a record high of 7,122.74 points reached in April.
Additional reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Richard Balmforth