* FTSE 100 down 0.2 pct
* Outlooks from Rolls Royce, Tate & Lyle, Lloyds disappoint
* UK benchmark's close above 50-day MA encouraging-analysts
By Tricia Wright
LONDON, Feb 13 Britain's top share index fell on
Thursday after six straight days of gains, its longest rising
streak of the year, led down by food ingredients firm Tate &
Lyle and engineer Rolls Royce, which gave disappointing
Tate & Lyle lost most in percentage terms, down
16.1 percent after it scaled back its full-year outlook, citing
weak sales volume in developed markets.
Fellow European consumer staple Nestle also fell
after giving a caution on outlook, further denting sentiment
towards the sector, with the FTSE 350 Food producers
1.2 percent weaker.
Rolls Royce, down 13.6 percent, took the biggest
chunk out of the FTSE, knocking 11.9 points off the index.
Although the engineer's profit rise beat forecasts, its
outlook was disappointing, saying it expected 2014 profits to be
flat on the back of declining defence and marine revenues.
The downgraded outlooks cast doubt on a much hoped-for
earnings recovery this year, which many analysts are depending
on to fuel stock market gains this year after a bumper 2013.
Of FTSE 100 companies that have reported quarterly earnings
so far, 39 percent have missed profit expectations.
"We got ahead of ourselves at the back end of last year, and
reports are going to be scrutinised a lot more," said Toby
Morris, senior sales trader at CMC Markets, citing the banking
sector as under particular pressure.
The FTSE 100 closed down 15.61 points, or 0.2
percent, at 6,659.42 points.
The index pared back earlier sharp losses heading into the
close, lifting it well above its 50-day moving average, at
6,633, breached earlier in the session, in what technical
analysts saw as an encouraging sign.
"If and when it closes above the key 6,700 mark then we
could easily see some more gains in the near term at least, with
the next obvious target being around 6,755 and then 6,800,"
Fawad Razaqzada, technical analyst at FOREX.com, said.
Lloyds fell 2.6 percent even after its return to
profit, with traders citing disappointing guidance for the bank,
media scrutiny over its bonuses and a strong run-up which saw it
hit five-year highs in January after gaining 65 percent in 2013.
"The regulatory environment remains austere, the level of
competition in the industry is increasing and the ongoing growth
in the return on capital number will remain under pressure,"
said Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown.