Britain’s FTSE ends poor quarter with another drop

* FTSE 100 down 0.5 pct

* Mining shares recover early falls

* TUI jumps as bookings rise

* AO World soars on results beat (ADVISORY- Reuters plans to replace intra-day European and UK stock market reports with a Live Markets blog on Eikon – see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets for site in development. See the bottom of the report for more details)

By Kit Rees and Alistair Smout

LONDON, March 31 UK shares retreated on Thursday, ending a weak first quarter of 2016 on a downbeat note, although a recovery in mining shares helped it outperform euro zone indexes.

Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 28.27 points, or 0.5 percent, at 6,174.90 by the close. That left the index down 1.1 percent in 2016 as the first quarter drew to a close.

The index began the year with steep falls, down over 10 percent by mid-February, as concerns over a weak oil price and fragile growth in China gripped markets.

However, an impressive rebound in commodities since then has helped to buoy the FTSE 100, which has managed a gain of 1.3 percent in March.

Miners managed to extend their strong run after a weak start, with copper steadying after touching a four-week low, buoyed by strong manufacturing data and a weaker dollar.

That helped the FTSE 100 outperform a 1.2 percent fall for euro zone blue chips, with the euro’s strength against sterling also providing a relative benefit for internationally exposed UK-listed stocks.

“The weaker US dollar has served up a degree of support for the heavyweight commodity stocks with some … managing to reverse earlier losses as we head into the close, but it’s still a minority of stocks printing positive figures on the day,” said Tony Cross, market analyst at Trustnet Direct.

However energy stocks trimmed 9 points off the index even after oil prices recovered following a weak start.

Life insurance company Old Mutual and Wolseley fell 1.8 and 1.4 percent after going ex-dividend. In all, ex-divs took around 2.2 points off the FTSE 100 index.

However, a rise in summer bookings for tour operator TUI Group sent its shares up 5 percent after the company said it was on track to meet its annual target.

“Tour operator TUI has however been something of a stand-out with the market cheering the fact that sales are holding up for the summer despite the deteriorating security situation in many Discount Holidays © holiday hotspots,” Trustnet Direct’s Cross said.

Shares in cruise company Carnival also gained 1.6 percent after upgrades following its own well-received results in the previous session.

The UK travel and leisure sector advanced 0.5 percent, touching a two-and-a-half week high earlier in the session.

Among mid-caps, online retailer AO World jumped 3.6 percent after it said that gaining market share helped to boost UK revenue and EBITDA ahead of its target. ADVISORY- Reuters plans to replace intra-day European and UK stock market reports with a Live Markets blog on Eikon (see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets for site in development). In a real-time, multimedia format from 0600 London time through the 1630 closing bell, it will include the best of our market reporting, Stocks Buzz service, Eikon graphics, Reuters pictures, eye-catching research and market zeitgeist.

Breaking news and dramatic market moves will continue to be alerted to all clients and we will continue to provide a short opening story and comprehensive closing reports.

If you have any thoughts, suggestions or feedback on this, please email mike.dolan@thomsonreuters.com.

Mike Dolan, Markets Editor EMEA. (Editing by Tom Heneghan)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*