Britain’s top share index inched lower on Thursday, with precious metals miners tracking weaker gold prices and some firms including National Grid (NG.L) falling after trading without the attraction of their latest dividend payouts,Reuters reports.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index .FTSE was down 0.2 percent by 0927 GMT after closing almost flat in the previous session. It has been trading in a tight range for almost two weeks, but is still up more than 9 percent so far this year.
National Grid, Vodafone (VOD.L), DCC (DCC.L), Carnival (DCC.L), BT (BT.L), Mediclinic (MDCM.L) and Johnson Matthey (JMAT.L) were among the top fallers, down between 0.7 percent and 2.6 percent, after their shares traded ex-dividends. Babcock International (BAB.L) shares fell 1.2 percent after Liberum lowered its target price for the stock to 960 pence from 1050 pence.
Precious metals miners also faced some selling pressure. Shares in Randgold Resources (RRS.L), Acacia Mining (ACAA.L) and Centamin (CEY.L) fell between 0.5 to 0.8 percent as gold prices dropped following a stronger dollar, making the metal costlier for holders of other currencies.
“The strong U.S. dollar is driving the global currency markets as the Federal Reserve is expected to pursue with 25 basis points hike at December meeting,” London Capital Group analyst Ipek Ozkardeskaya said.
“UK’s gold miners began the day in the negative territory and are expected to extend losses along with the cheapening gold.” However, gains recorded by some companies limited losses.
Direct Line Group (DLGD.L) rose 4 percent, the top FTSE 100 gainer, after Morgan Stanley raises its rating on the stock to “overweight” from “equal-weight”.
Among mid-caps, Britain’s biggest pizza delivery firm Domino’s Pizza (DOM.L) rose more than 5 percent after saying it planned to increase its presence across the UK to 1,600 stores after seeing a strong performance from new outlets and a positive market outlook.
British estate agent Countrywide (CWD.L) slumped to a record low and was last quoted 10 percent lower after warning again that its 2016 core earnings would be hit by lower property market activity since Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.
Its shares have also come under pressure after Britain said on Wednesday it would ban one-off tenant fees charged by estate agents to try to bring down the cost of renting.
“Yesterday’s Autumn Statement bombshell banning letting agents from charging upfront fees to tenants couldn’t have come at a worse time for the sector,” said Neil Wilson, analyst at ETX Capital. “The trading statement (by Countrywide) presumably doesn’t take stock of this change so we could see a greater adverse effect as a result.”