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Britain's FTSE falters, but set for weekly gain; Carillion sees relief
July 14, 2017 / 9:20 AM / 5 months ago

Britain's FTSE falters, but set for weekly gain; Carillion sees relief

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* FTSE 100 down 0.1 pct

* Set for weekly gain on more dovish Fed tone

* AstraZeneca slide continues as co declines comment

* Derwent London rises on Exane’s real estate optimism

* Carillion sees relief as appoints financial adviser

By Helen Reid

LONDON, July 14 (Reuters) - Britain’s major share index faltered on Friday, but was set to end the week in positive territory on the back of a global rally after US Fed officials suggested monetary policy tightening would go ahead at a slower pace.

The FTSE 100 was down 0.1 percent by 0840 GMT, in line with mid-caps. Blue-chips were set for a 0.7 percent weekly gain, their best performance since late May.

Drugmaker AstraZeneca continued Thursday’s slide, down 1.6 percent due to uncertainty around reports that CEO Soriot was preparing to leave the company.

A spokeswoman said the company declined to comment on the media report.

Retailer Tesco was among top gainers, tracking Europe-wide strength among retailers and consumer goods firms, which both gained 0.2 percent.

Royal Mail shares fell 1.4 percent after it replaced its pension plan, giving employees a choice between defined benefit or contribution pension scheme after opposition from trade unions.

Among mid-caps, Carillion saw some relief from heavy losses this week, rising 6 percent to the top of the mid-caps after the crisis-hit construction and support services contractor hired HSBC as joint financial adviser and corporate broker, amid speculation it is preparing a rights issue.

It was still on track for a 70 percent drop in market value for the week.

Property firm Derwent London was among top European gainers, after Exane BNP Paribas raised the stock to an ‘outperform’ rating, citing the firm’s ‘defensive’ rents and strong pipeline. It expressed optimism over the prospects for a sector seen as particularly vulnerable to Brexit.

“Values in the London office market have barely moves post-Brexit thanks to abundant investment market liquidity (particularly from Asia) and resilient take-up,” its analysts said in a note, adding firms have recycled capital, deleveraged and payed special dividends.

Exane analysts forecast an average 8 percent decline in London office rents by 2019 - “a gradual weakening rather than a sharp correction”, they said.

Derwent peer NewRiver also gained 2 percent, after its first-quarter results showed 71 new lettings agreed, and occupancy remained high.

Emerging markets-focused asset manager Ashmore fell after reporting a 5 percent rise in its fourth-quarter assets, boosted by new client cash. Despite the results being in line with forecasts, the shares fell 2.8 percent to the bottom of the mid-caps.

“This was Ashmore’s second consecutive quarter of inflows, marking the first time since 2013,” said UBS analysts.

“That said, due to the increase in the GBP/USD rate during the quarter, the growth of assets under management measured in sterling was a more moderate 1.1 percent quarter-on-quarter.” (Reporting by Helen Reid; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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