HSBC, Experian weigh on UK's FTSE

* FTSE 100 down 0.4 pct

* HSBC takes most points off index after profits fall

* Cautious outlook hits Experian (Other OTC: EXPGF – news) ‘s shares

By Sudip Kar-Gupta

LONDON, May 7 (Reuters) – A fall in the shares of HSBC

bank and credit data firm Experian pushed down

Britain’s top equity index on Wednesday, adding to signs of

weakness in corporate earnings as the market extended a losing

run.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was down 0.4 percent,

or 26.23 points, at 6,772.33 points in mid-session trading. The

index had hit a 2-month closing high last Friday after five

straight days of gains.

A 1.2 percent fall at HSBC took the most points off the FTSE

after the bank posted a 20 percent fall in first quarter profits

and said customer activity was muted in April.

“We do not feel there is an upgrade in these results but

HSBC remains a good yield stock that performs relatively well in

times of economic stress,” said Mirabaud Securities analyst Alex

Potter.

Experian was the worst-performing FTSE stock in percentage

terms, falling 6.1 percent after Chief Executive Don Robert said

growth in the first-half of this year could be constrained.

The FTSE hit a peak of 6,867.42 points in late January,

which was close to its highest level since early 2000, but has

since fallen back due to concerns about a slump in emerging

market economies and mounting unease about clashes in Ukraine

between Kiev authorities and pro-Moscow militants.

The FTSE is trading on a 12-month forward price/earnings

ratio of about 13 times, against its five-year average of 11,

Thomson Reuters Datastream shows. Meanwhile, analysts have been

steadily lowering profit forecasts since the start of 2014.

Peel Hunt equity strategist Ian Williams said he saw little

scope for FTSE gains until at least mid-year, and that the

market may need more signs of takeover activity to push higher.

“Valuations have come as far as they can in the short term

purely on an earnings basis so it does require that corporate

activity to add a bit of upside potential,” he said.

(additional reporting by Tricia Wright; Editing by John

Stonestreet)

Ftse Futures

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