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Friday, July 1, 2022

Mixed earnings and easyJet lead Britain’s FTSE lower

By Liisa Tuhkanen

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s FTSE 100 edged lower on Tuesday as a mixed set of corporate results and lingering concern over commodity price falls outweighed a rebound in gold-mining companies and a rally in car insurers.

Data released on Tuesday also showed Britain’s public finances improved less than expected in June.

The FTSE 100 index closed down 0.3 percent at 6,769.07 points after gaining 0.2 percent in the previous session. Receding fears over Greece have helped British and European shares rally in recent weeks, although UK equities remain 5 percent below April’s record high.

“It’s all a little bit lacklustre today, and I suppose in some respect it’s because we’re in the eye of U.S. and UK earnings,” said London Capital Group analyst Brenda Kelly.

“It will remain to be seen what kind of earnings we can come to expect over the next number of days, which could give us a proper direction from here.”

Easyjet was the worst-performing blue-chip, shedding 3.2 percent after Commerzbank cut the airline’s price target to 1,550 pence from 1,700 pence.

Gold-miners Fresnillo and Randgold were among the top performers, closing up 3.7 and 2 percent respectively. Both fell more than 4 percent in the previous session after a slump in gold prices wiped out more than $ 8 billion of the gold-mining sector’s equity market capitalisation.

Gold prices stabilised on Tuesday just above a five-year low though some investors expect further declines.

“The gold price has had a bit of a bounce … It’s helping out the miners,” said Mark Ward, head of execution trading at Sanlam Securities.

In other gainers, specialist car insurers Admiral, Direct Line and eSure rose by between 4.5 and 0.7 percent after a closely watched AA index showed that British car insurance premiums jumped more than 5 percent in the second quarter compared with the previous three months.

Corporate results were mixed: shares of mid-cap IG Group dived 6.8 percent after the financial trading platform reported a hit to full-year earnings from the Swiss franc’s fluctuations in January.

Online domestic appliances retailer AO World jumped 3.2 percent after reporting a strong start to second-quarter trading.

The second-quarter earnings season is in its early days but so far a majority of companies that have reported results in the United States and Europe have beaten earnings expectations, according to JPMorgan.

(Additional reporting by Lionel Laurent; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Susan Fenton)

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