FTSE 100 retreats from nine-week high after weak company results

By Atul Prakash

LONDON (Reuters) – The FTSE 100 retreated from a nine-week high on Tuesday, dragged down by weak results from companies including Barclays (BARC.L) and Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN.L).

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index (.FTSE) was down 0.2 percent at 6,807.81 points by 0808 GMT after hitting 6,838.17 on Friday, the highest since late February. The market was closed on Monday for a public holiday.

Investment manager Aberdeen Asset Management fell 4.9 percent, to be the top FTSE 100 decliner, on a forecast-lagging 3-percent fall in interim pretax profit after clients pulled money out of its core emerging market and Asian equity funds. [ID:nL6N0NS1JJ]

“Reporting seasons are now more important than they have been for many years because the market is at a valuation level where some earnings growth is priced in. When they miss earnings, it does matter to the market now,” Macquarie strategist Daniel McCormack said.

“On a 12- to 18-month view, there is plenty of upside left in the market because earnings will start to improve, but I struggle to see a near-term positive catalyst for the market to push materially higher.”

Barclays fell 4 percent after saying its profits fell 5 percent in the first quarter as revenues fell in its fixed income business more steeply than at most rivals. [ID:nL6N0NS1GI]

The UK banking index fell 0.8 percent, led lower by Barclays, which also said it will announce on Thursday details of a plan to shrink its investment bank.

“The outcome of the quarter is largely a continuation of the themes outlined at the full year numbers, with Thursday’s strategy announcement likely to be rather more consequential,” Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers head of equities Richard Hunter said in a note.

“Inevitably there is likely to be some volatility up to and including Thursday’s announcement … Nonetheless, if some of the rumoured changes are implemented, resulting in a more streamlined and obviously profitable bank, the recent upgrade of the market consensus to a buy will have been vindicated.”

Miners also lost ground, with Rio Tinto (RIO.L), BHP Billiton (BLT.L) and Anglo American (AAL.L) down 1.7 percent to 2 percent on demand concerns, especially in China.

Geopolitical tension also weighed on the broader market. More than 30 pro-Russian separatists were killed in fighting near the rebel stronghold of Slaviansk in eastern Ukraine, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on Tuesday. [ID:nL6N0NS1EA]

(Editing by Louise Ireland)

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