FTSE 100 retreats from 9-week high after weak company results

* Index falls 0.1 percent

* Aberdeen Asset Management (Other OTC: ABDNF – news) down after results

* Barclays (LSE: BARC.L – news) slips after Q1 profits drop 5 percent

* Housebuilders recover, helped by Countrywide (LSE: CWD.L – news) update

By Tricia Wright

LONDON, May 6 (Reuters) – Britain’s top share index

retreated from a nine-week high on Tuesday, knocked by weak

results from Aberdeen Asset Management and Barclays (Berlin: BCY.BE – news)

.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was down 9.54 points,

or 0.1 percent, at 6,812.88 points by 1048 GMT, after hitting

6,838.17 on Friday, its highest level since late February. The

market was closed on Monday for a public holiday.

Investment manager Aberdeen Asset Management dropped 5.9

percent, the top FTSE 100 faller, on a forecast-lagging

3-percent fall in pretax profit after clients pulled money out

of its core emerging market and Asian equity funds.

“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 shed 4.5 percent after its profits fell 5 percent

in the first quarter as revenues dropped in its fixed income

business more steeply than at most rivals.

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.

“…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.”

BUILDERS BUOYANT

Housebuilders helped limit market losses, reversing recent

falls, with traders citing a bullish trading update from

Countrywide, Britain’s largest estate agency.

The Thomson Reuters UK Homebuilding index

has fallen more than 10 percent from a late February peak,

trimming its gains for 2014 to around 3 percent.

It doubled in value during the past three years, underpinned

by tight supply and UK initiatives to spur the job-intensive

sector, such as the ‘Help-to-Buy’ mortgage scheme.

Barclays said the recent selloff had left attractive

valuations.

“We see strong fundamentals: greater visibility provided by

the extension to the ‘Help-to-Buy’ scheme; a largely disciplined

land market; and a more supportive planning system,” Barclays

said in a note. “Where headwinds exist, notably the threat of

rising interest rates, they remain relatively benign in our

view.”

Persimmon (Frankfurt: OHP.F – news) topped the FTSE 100 leader board, up 3.5

percent at 1,373 pence as Barclays lifted its target price for

the stock to 1,540 pence from 1,333.6 pence. Blue-chip peer

Barratt Developments (LSE: BDEV.L – news) rose 2.2 percent, and mid-cap

Taylor Wimpey (LSE: TW.L – news) climbed 1.6 percent.

(Additional reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by John

Stonestreet)

Ftse Futures

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