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* FTSE 100 down 0.5 pct
* Morrisons results fail to impress
* Miners track metals prices lower
* Aviva jumps after earnings
By Kit Rees
LONDON, March 9 UK shares fell on Thursday, down
for a sixth session in a row as a disappointing set of results
from grocer Morrisons and weakness among miners
outweighed a strong performance from insurance stocks.
The blue chip FTSE 100 index was down 0.5 percent at
7,301.22 points by 1004 GMT, slightly underperforming the
broader European market. The index was on track for its biggest
one-day decline since the end of January.
Morrison's, Britain's fourth-biggest supermarket,
was the second-biggest blue chip faller, down 4 percent. While
the grocer posted its first profit rise in five years, it warned
that a rise in imported food prices meant that it faced an
Morrisons' shares were strong performers in 2016, gaining
around 56 percent.
"Supermarket shares have jumped a bit, but there is this
wider concern that they're not going to be in a position to fend
off the higher prices - they're going to try and keep prices low
because of the price war ... but input prices are rising,"
Jasper Lawler, senior market analyst at London Capital Group,
Mining stocks BHP Billiton, Anglo American,
Glencore, Antofagasta and Rio Tinto
all dropped between 1.7 percent to over 5.5 percent.
A fall in copper prices to a seven-week low hit the sector,
with a stronger dollar, on the back of increased expectations of
an interest rate hike from the U.S. Federal Reserve, making the
metal more expensive for holders of foreign currency.
British insurers, however, were enjoying a strong session,
led higher by a jump in Aviva's shares, up 6.5 percent at
a two-year high after reporting results.
"Overall a strong set of results particularly on solvency
and capital return flagged for 2017," analysts at UBS said in a
Aviva was joined by car insurer Admiral Group which
rallied 2.4 percent after JPMorgan raised its rating on the
stock to "overweight". According to Eikon data, most analysts
have either a "hold" or a "sell" rating on Admiral.
"We upgrade Admiral to Overweight as in our view recent
share price weakness presents an attractive entry point into
what remains a best-in-class insurer," analysts at JPMorgan said
in a note, adding that Admiral's results yesterday demonstrated
a good underlying performance.
Outside of the blue chips, pizza delivery firm Domino's
Pizza fell nearly 14 percent and was set for its worst
day since June 2008 after reporting results, with analysts
focusing on weak like-for-like sales growth figures for the
first nine weeks of 2017.
(Reporting by Kit Rees; Editing by Toby Davis)