BRITAIN’S top share index edged lower in low-volume trade yesterday, led by banks and mining stocks, as concern about the outlook for corporate earnings kept investors cautious.
The FTSE 100 ended down 3.7 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 5,662.43 in volume, just under two-thirds of its 90-day daily average.
“Investors are not keen to make major shifts to their portfolios at this stage as there is nervousness about earnings,” said Ian Williams, a strategist at Peel Hunt.
“The market has been short of inspiration – growth data continued to disappoint last week and the US earnings season did not kick off to a great start.”
Security firm G4S led individual fallers, down 8.7 per cent, dropping for the third straight session to its lowest level since late December.
G4S shares were traded at more than seven times their daily 90-day average after a number of bearish broker notes prompted by the company’s admission it would be unable to fulfil a contract to supply guards for this month’s Olympics.
Weakness in several heavyweight cyclical sectors, including mining, prevented the broader market from rising and suggested that Friday’s sluggish growth data from top metals consumer China would continto put pressure on the industry.
Banks were also among the worst-performing sectors, mirroring weakness across Europe, with Barclays the top faller, down 2.7 per cent, weighed further by the Libor scandal. But US peer Citigroup got a boost from stronger-than-expected second quarter profits.