* 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
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
“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
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