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* FTSE 100 down 0.1 pct
* Capita falls 7 pct after profit warning
* Sports Direct down after weak results
* Sentiment bullish ahead of ECB announcement
By Kit Rees
LONDON, Dec 8 UK shares fell on Thursday,
breaking a three-day winning streak as shares in outsourcing
firm Capita tumbled on a profit warning, though with the
ECB expected to extend its stimulus programme, underlying
sentiment stayed positive.
The blue chip FTSE 100 index was down 0.1 percent at
6,895.00 points by 1008 GMT, lagging its European peers but
holding close to its highest level in one month.
Capita, the top faller, plunged 7.4 percent and hit its
lowest since July 2006 after a second profit warning in three
months, blaming Brexit-related client indecision. It said it
would sell assets and trim costs to protect its balance sheet.
Outsourcing firms have been under pressure since Britain
voted to leave the European Union in June. Shares in peer Mitie
, which issued a second profit warning in November, fell
Several midcap firms also saw large losses. Disappointing
results hit shares in sporting goods retailer Sports Direct
, which dropped more than 8 percent. Its shares are down
50 percent so far in 2016, having been hit by a plunge in
sterling following the Brexit vote as well as criticism over the
treatment of its workers.
Betting companies William Hill and Ladbrokes Coral
Group fell 8.7 percent and 7.2 percent following a media
report about a clampdown on betting machines.
Tour operator TUI rose 2 percent after extending
its existing profit forecast for another year.
Advertiser WPP rose 2.2 percent to top the blue chip
index after an upgrade to "buy" from "hold" from Jefferies,
whose analysts said they expected limited on the firm from a
reported U.S. Justice Department investigation into the
The report knocked back WPP shares in the previous session.
Traders also focused on the European Central Bank's policy
meeting later in the day, in which it is expected to extend its
asset buying programme.
"We're very bullish actually, especially with the ECB
announcement today," John Moore, trader at Berkeley Capital,
"We believe that they will be extending the quantitative
easing for another six months, but (ECB President Mario Draghi)
may even mention some additional measures ... (and) we might see
another push higher (on the index) to maybe 7,000 or 6,990."
(Reporting by Kit Rees; editing by John Stonestreet)