Home Stock & Shares UK stocks in the red as BoE maintains interest rates

UK stocks in the red as BoE maintains interest rates

by Jonathan Adams
UK stocks

The FTSE 100 index dropped 0.35% to 6,485, while the FTSE 250 index traded almost flat at 20,732

UK stocks fell into the red on Thursday after the Bank of England maintained interest rates at 0.1%, which came as a host of corporate updates got an increasingly negative reception.

The UK’s benchmark FTSE 100 index fell 0.35% to 6,485, while the midcap FTSE 250 index gave up earlier gains to trade almost flat at 20,732.

Consumer goods giant Unilever led the blue-chips loser board on Thursday with a 4% slump to £41.62 after emerging market performance in the fourth quarter missed some market expectations.

Sales in emerging markets rose 1.2%, hurt in part by strict lockdowns in the first half of the year and declines in Thailand, the Philippines and in Indonesia in the fourth quarter. That compared to long-term sales growth targets across the region of between 3% and 5%.

Oil and gas major Royal Dutch Shell fell 1.8% to £12.49 as profit plunged to a two decade low last year as the coronavirus pandemic hit energy demand worldwide. Adjusted earnings for 2020 slumped 71% to $4.8 billion, the lowest since at least 2000, according to Reuters data.

Telecoms giant BT fell 2.1 to 125.9p after it reported a fall in profit as performance was weighed down ongoing legacy product declines and the impact of Covid-19 on its consumer and its enterprise units.

But not every stock was falling as catering outsourcer Compass rallied 3.8% to £14.01, heading the FTSE 100 leaderboard after saying it anticipated second-quarter operating margins to improve by another 50 to 100 basis points, after its first-quarter operating margin rose to 2.7% from 0.6% in the preceding quarter.

The company reported a one-third fall in organic revenue for the December quarter after a tumultuous 2020 that was marred by school and office closures due to Covid-19 restrictions.



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