Financial Planning

FTSE 100 steady as investors wait on US data; Greencore slumps in mid-caps

Financial Planning
Published: 13 March 2018

The FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) was flat again this morning as investors held back before the latest US inflation data is announced, waiting for any hints for any impending interest rate increases. It is also the Chancellor Philip Hammond’s spring statement later today but it is expected to be a short update on improved forecasts.

The blue chip share index fell 0.006%, down 0.38 of a point at 7,214.46 by 11.10 GMT.

In the mid-caps, convenience food producer Greencore (LON:GNC) was the biggest faller this morning, down 26.3%, as it cut its profit guidance for 2018. The company said that profit growth in its US arm will be slower than expected and it will be restructuring the network to rectify low capacity utilisation. CEO Patrick Coveney will be dividing his time between the US and UK as US CEO Chris Kirke steps down.

In the FTSE 100, Antofagasta (LON:ANTO) shares rose 2.1% as it increased its dividend by 177% on the back of a sharp rise in 2017 earnings due to higher copper prices. Pre-tax profit jumped to $1.83bn from $284.6mn in 2016 with a revenue increase of 31%.

Glencore (LON:GLEN) and Randgold Resources (LON:RRS) shares were both up by 1.4% this morning.

GKN (LON:GKN) shares rose 3.0% as the engineering group rejected Melrose’s final offer on Monday evening. The stock was rebounding from a loss of 2.5% at yesterday’s close.

Direct Line Insurance (LON:DLG) shares fell 1.9% on a downgrade from Deutsche Bank to Hold from Buy.

On the currency markets, sterling fell 0.15% against the dollar to $1.3886 and slipped 0.11% against the euro to €1.1256.