By Emily Horton
London’s markets slipped Thursday, after disappointing results from Schroders PLC and Aviva PLC.
How are markets performing?
U.K.’s FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +1.37% trimmed earlier losses, but was down 0.3% to 7,177.18, after finishing up 0.2% on Wednesday.
The pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD +1.1219% was down $1.3119 from $1.3169 late in New York on Wednesday evening.
What’s driving the markets?
Rio Tinto PLC, Evraz PLC /zigman2/quotes/202291633/delayed UK:EVR +1.86% and Persimmon PLC /zigman2/quotes/206444744/delayed UK:PSN +3.77% traded ex-dividend on Thursday, leading to opening losses for those stocks, which pared as the session went on.
French bank Société Générale took a scalpel to the mining sector, downgrading both Rio Tinto PLC /zigman2/quotes/208934945/delayed UK:RIO -1.24% and BHP PLC /zigman2/quotes/203323256/delayed UK:BHP -0.21% . Investment bank UBS also downgraded Rio Tinto PLC to ‘neutral’, saying they expect the spot iron ore price to fall over the next 6 months. Rio shares bounced back to gain 0.3% after early losses.
Following a retreat in Asian and U.S. markets on concerns that global growth might be slowing, London pulled back as hopes for an imminent trade deal between the U.S. and China recede.
What stocks are active?
Heavyweights Barclays PLC /zigman2/quotes/208409333/delayed UK:BARC +4.31% /zigman2/quotes/206581728/composite BCS -1.05% slid 1%, while Legal & General Group PLC /zigman2/quotes/201125471/delayed UK:LGEN +4.44% lost 1.6%, both weighing on the index.
Schroders PLC /zigman2/quotes/200207320/delayed UK:SDR +3.16% reported a dip in profits on Thursday, resulting in a 5% drop in its share price. Meanwhile, Aviva PLC lost 3.7% after management warned lower fee income may weigh on operating profit growth in 2019, despite reporting a rise in 2018 operating profits.
In health care, NMC Health PLC lost 6% after the chain reported results slightly below expectation, citing wider macro challenges in a number of its business, and said these are expected to spill over into 2019.
Melrose Industries PLC /zigman2/quotes/210306391/delayed UK:MRO +4.88% announced its first steps towards breaking up engineering company GNK, after its hostile take over in 2018. This led to a 5% rise in share price, despite the FTSE 100 company announcing deepened losses after the acquisition.