LONDON: UK's FTSE 100 fell on Thursday as declines in stocks trading ex-dividend weighed, while downbeat earnings from Flutter and Beazley also contributed.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 lost 0.4%, nearly erasing its Wednesday gains. Shares of HSBC fell 4.2%, taking the broader banking index down 2.9% as it traded without entitlement for dividend payout.
Other stocks trading ex-dividend included The Berkeley Group Holdings and Hargreaves Lansdown, which fell 2.0% and 2.2% respectively.
Beazley Plc dropped to the bottom of the FTSE 100, falling 8.2% after the insurer said its net profit fell 48% in 2022.
Flutter dropped 5.9% after the betting company reported full-year core profit at the lower end of its forecast range.
The FTSE 100 has had a strong start to the year even clocking its best February performance since 2019 on upbeat corporate results and a recovery in commodity prices as improving Chinese demand influenced the exporter-heavy index.
"One of the main reasons for recent stock market resilience has been a belief that we are close to peak rates, and that soon after we could start to see an easing," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets. Bank of England Chief Economist Huw Pill will be speaking later in the day, after BoE chief Andrew Bailey said on Wednesday it was possible the central bank had already come to the end of its rate-rising cycle.
London-listed shares of CRH surged 10.5% after the Irish building materials company reported record sales and profits for 2022. The construction and materials sector gained 8.6%, hitting a fresh record high.
The FTSE 250 midcap index was muted, though a 12.1% surge in National Express Group helped cut losses after the bus operator turned to an annual profit and reinstated its annual dividend. ITV dropped 2.9% after Britain's biggest commercial free-to-air broadcaster reported a 12% fall in adjusted operating profit.
Visit news.dtnext.in to explore our interactive epaper!
Download the DT Next app for more exciting features!
Click here for iOS
Click here for Android