UK's FTSE ends winning run as HSBC pushes market lower

Mon Feb 24, 2014 6:28am EST

* FTSE 100 falls 0.4 pct, ends 6-day winning run

* Fall at HSBC takes most points off the index

* Vodafone at 13-year high after Verizon Wireless deal

By Sudip Kar-Gupta

LONDON, Feb 24 (Reuters) - British shares fell on Monday, ending a six-day winning run and weighed down by HSBC after the bank posted disappointing earnings and warned of volatility in emerging markets.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was down by 0.4 percent, or 26.12 points, at 6,811.94 in mid-session trading.

A 3.7 percent fall in HSBC took the most points off the FTSE, after the bank posted lower-than-expected profits and warned about uncertain times for emerging markets, which have been hit by unrest in Ukraine and currency slumps in Argentina and elsewhere.

"There are concerns about corporate earnings. We've had disappointing results from HSBC which is dragging the index down," said Mike Franklin, chief investment strategist at Beaufort Securities.

Worries about emerging markets also hurt miners, with the UK mining index falling 1.2 percent as some media reports in China stoked fears that local banks had begun tightening loans to property developers and some other sectors such as steel, cement and construction.

VODAFONE BOOST

The FTSE 100 rose 14.4 percent in 2013 to post its best annual gain since 2009. The index is up by around 1 percent since the start of 2014, recovering from a fall in January caused by the downturn in emerging market economies.

Cushioning the broader market's losses on Monday was a 2.5 percent rise at mobile telecoms group Vodafone, which hit a 13-year high on speculation the company might become a bid target after its deal to sell its stake in U.S. operator Verizon Wireless to U.S. peer Verizon.

Analysts said Vodafone's stake sale is set to prompt the largest capital return in corporate history, which should bring in fresh cash for major pension funds which own Vodafone shares and could use that cash to re-invest in the FTSE.

Beaufort Securities' Franklin remained confident the FTSE would soon be able to hit the 6,900 point level and later challenge making a record high of 7,000 points.

However, JNF Capital trader Rick Jones said that in the short term, he expected the FTSE to consolidate around current levels, pointing to the fact that the index was in technically "overbought" territory.

The FTSE 100 currently has a relative strength indicator (RSI) reading on a 9-day basis of just over 70. If a market has an RSI above 70, it indicates it is technically "overbought" while under 30 shows it is technically "oversold".

"The market looks a bit overbought right now, we might be running out of steam," said Jones.

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