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* FTSE 100 closes 0.3 pct lower
* Morrisons results fail to impress
* Miners track metals prices lower
* Aviva jumps after earnings
By Kit Rees
LONDON, March 9 Britain's top share index hit
its lowest level in more than a week on Thursday, down for a
sixth session in a row, as a disappointing set of results from
grocer Morrisons and a slump in miners outweighed a
strong performance from insurance stocks.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 closed 0.3 percent lower
after slipping to its lowest level since March 1.
Morrison's, Britain's fourth-biggest supermarket,
was the biggest large-cap faller, down 6.6 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," said
Jasper Lawler, senior market analyst at London Capital Group.
Miners lost heavily, tracking a sharp decline in metals
prices. Copper fell to a two-month low, reflecting losses across
most industrial metals as markets geared up for an expected rise
in U.S. interest rates this month.
The UK mining index slumped 3.5 percent. Mining
stocks BHP Billiton, Anglo American, Glencore
, Antofagasta and Rio Tinto all dropped
between 1.8 percent to 5.8 percent.
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 4.4 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 13.2 percent after reporting results, with
analysts focusing on weak like-for-like sales growth figures for
the first nine weeks of 2017.
(Additioanl reporting by Atul Prakash; Reporting by Kit Rees;
Editing by Toby Davis)