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Weak outlooks weigh on Britain's FTSE to snap year's best streak
February 13, 2014 / 9:15 AM / 4 years ago

Weak outlooks weigh on Britain's FTSE to snap year's best streak

* FTSE 100 down 0.4 pct

* Rolls Royce, Tate & Lyle and Lloyds all give poor guidance

* Index falls after six straight sessions of gains

By Alistair Smout

LONDON, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Britain’s top share index fell on Thursday to end its longest winning streak of the year, led down by engineer Rolls Royce and sugar maker Tate & Lyle, which gave disappointing outlooks.

Sugar and sweetener manufacturer Tate & Lyle was the top faller in percentage terms, down 15.5 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. FTSE 350 Food producers dropped 1.5 percent, the top sectoral faller, and no stock was in positive territory.

Trimming the most points off the FTSE 100 was Rolls Royce, which fell 11.4 percent to knock 10 points off the index.

Although the engineer’s profit rise beat forecasts, its forward 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 were depending on to fuel strong stock market gains this year.

Of FTSE 100 companies that have reported quarterly earnings so far, 39 percent have missed expectations.

“I thought we were probably going to have to beat earnings just to hold steady on the FTSE 100, so given the misses we’re seeing, I‘m not surprised we’re lower,” Toby Morris, senior sales trader at CMC Markets, said.

“We got ahead of ourselves at the back-end of last year, and reports are going to be scrutinised a lot more,” he said, citing the banking sector as under particular pressure.

Lloyds fell 3.8 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,” Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown, said.

The FTSE 100 was down 29.92 points, or 0.5 percent, to 6,645.11 at 0850 GMT, snapping a streak of six straight days of gains.

On Wednesday, the index opened strongly, only to give away almost all of its gains in afternoon trade, in from a technical analysis perspective often indicates that a rally is running out of steam.

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