FALLS in supermarket, miner and housebuilders’ shares yesterday did not prevent the FTSE 100 rising marginally. The UK’s blue-chip index rose 0.35 per cent to 6,297 points.
The largest casualty, by some way, was Sainsbury, which reported profits had slumped 18 per cent and slashed its interim dividend by a third. Sainsbury’s group sales were down two per cent to £13.6bn for the 28 weeks to 26 September, while retail sales were down 0.1 per cent excluding fuel. Like-for-likes dropped 1.6 per cent.
Sainsbury’s share price ended the session 7.08 per cent down at 253.3p per share. “Despite all the positive talk about strategy delivery, Sainsbury continues to lose sales and market share and reduce margins thereby reducing return on capital. Sainsbury expects the tough background to be maintained through the second half so respite is still some way off,” said David Stoddart, analyst at Edison Investment Research.
The second biggest loser on the FTSE 100 was SSE as the energy company announced pre-tax profits had jumped, but announced the outlook was “challenging” due to low commodity prices and the UK’s energy policy. SSE’s adjusted profit before tax rose by 48.2 per cent to £548.8m for the six months ending 30 September. But its share price fell 3.22 per cent to 1,444p.
“Although SSE maintained targeted earnings per share in the 2016 financial year, we see some downside risks as management tone was cautious in our view, citing that it is subjected to significant uncertainties,” said Jia Neoh, an analyst at S&P.
Meanwhile, miners continued to act as a drag on the index, with BHP Billiton and Glencore, Rio Tinto and Fresnillo shares all closing down. BHP Billiton’s share price closed 2.41 per cent down at 923.70p per share, while Glencore’s share price fell 1.14 per cent down at 105.05p per share.
Housebuilders also weighed on the FTSE 100. Barratt Developments’ stock fell 1.3 per cent to 565p per share. Persimmon closed 0.96 per cent down at 1,857p per share, while Taylor Wimpey also closed 0.44 per cent down at 179p per share.
However, the FTSE 100 was led higher by gains in other companies. SABMiller’s share price rose 1.86 per cent to 4,050p per share after it was announced that a £70bn merger with AB InBev, and that it will de-list from the London Stock Exchange after having completed the deal.