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FTSE flirts with new record while G4S, ABF dampen the mood
November 7, 2017 / 9:48 AM / 16 days ago

FTSE flirts with new record while G4S, ABF dampen the mood

(ADVISORY- Follow European and UK stock markets in real time on the Reuters Live Markets blog on Eikon, see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets)

* FTSE 100 up 0.1 pct

* G4S sinks 7 pct on revenue guidance cut

* Primark owner ABF drops as CEO sees sugar profits falling

* William Hill gets boost from BAML

* Fevertree sparkles after trading update

By Helen Reid

LONDON, Nov 7 (Reuters) - A recovery among banking shares and continued gains among oil companies helped buoy British stocks on Tuesday, while disappointing results weighed on G4S and Primark owner ABF.

Britain’s FTSE 100 was steady by 0830 GMT, having inched to a new record level in early deals. It has treaded water in the past days, with investors expecting it to stay flat overall into the year-end.

Earnings misses from G4S and ABF punctured the upbeat mood.

Primark owner ABF fell 3.6 percent after the CEO said sugar profits would fall in 2017-2018 due to lower EU prices.

Results from its clothing segment Primark, however, were encouraging, and the share price drop took traders by surprise with most pre-market indications seeing gains.

“It looks like margins are improving at Primark for the first time in a while, which is quite interesting for other retailers... I think these inflationary pressures are going to come through with price increases,” said Paul Mumford, fund manager at Cavendish Asset Management.

Shares in the world’s largest security group sank 7.3 percent after the firm downgraded its revenue outlook for the rest of the year.

“The main drag is the Middle East and India region, excluding these G4S would have achieved 6.1 percent organic growth,” said Stifel analysts.

Overall earnings in the UK have met analysts’ expectations, though the market reaction to profit warnings and earnings misses has been violent.

“Looking at trading statements I would say the bulk of them are in line with market expectations, and the ones that have missed are probably due to specific factors rather than the UK as a whole,” said Mumford.

Oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell were the main supports to the FTSE as crude prices held around the 2 1/2 year highs they reached on the Saudi Arabia purge on Monday.

Shell hit a fresh record high in early deals.

Petrofac and Tullow Oil led the mid-cap index with gains of 3 to 5.4 percent.

William Hill shares jumped 3.2 percent after Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts gave the gambling company a double upgrade to “buy” from “underperform”.

William Hill and rival betting firm Ladbrokes Coral had made gains last week after the UK government’s review on maximum stakes for gambling machines, with analysts saying the risk was priced in.

BAML analysts on Tuesday wrote: “Even in a worst case scenario of a 2 pound cap on fixed odds betting terminal machines, William Hill would offer an attractive value opportunity.” Among small-caps Fevertree sparkled, up 9.3 percent after an impressive trading update. The maker of premium mixers said 2017 results would beat expectations.

Reporting by Helen Reid; editing by Ralph Boulton

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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