FTSE 100 ends in red on busy day of reporting

The FTSE 100 ended in the red on Thursday following a busy day of corporate reporting that saw big hitters Lloyds and Royal Dutch Shell end at opposite ends of the spectrum.

London’s top flight closed down 33.95 points, or 0.46%, at 7,351.31, following global peers lower.

David Madden, analyst at CMC Markets, said: “Stock markets are largely lower heading into the close as volatility is low. In London, the FTSE 100 is being weighed down by consumer and mining stocks.

“It has been a lacklustre week for European markets, partially because of the May Day holiday, but also a lack of any major macro-economic news.”

In stocks, Royal Dutch Shell was riding high, despite the energy titan seeing profits drop on the back of tumbling oil prices and weaker margins.

The blue-chip firm posted statutory earnings of 5.3 billion US dollars (£4.1 billion) for the first quarter, down 7% on the same period last year.

Underlying earnings fell 2%, surpassing expectations, as stronger trading and higher liquefied natural gas prices partially offset the drop in oil prices and refining profits.

Shell hailed the performance as “strong”, and its B shares closed up 46p at 2,475p. A shares were also up 40p to 2,453.5p.

Shares in banking giant Lloyds came under pressure after it revealed charges held back growth in first-quarter bottom-line profits, as it warned ongoing Brexit uncertainty could take a further toll on the UK economy.

The high street banking giant reported flat statutory pre-tax profits at £1.6 billion as it revealed a further £100 million charge for the payment protection insurance (PPI) scandal after a surge in complaints ahead of the deadline.

It also booked charges of £126 million for restructuring and another £339 million, including an estimated charge for the exit fee for ending its mammoth contract with asset manager Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA).

Shares close down 0.8p at 62.8p.

On the FTSE 250, Metro Bank took a hammering after the lender sneaked out a dismal set of first quarter figures late on Wednesday evening detailing the impact of a major accounting error and subsequent investor cash call.

Figures showed quarter-on-quarter deposit growth was affected by some major customers withdrawing during the fallout from the debacle, resulting in a 3.6% reduction.

Underlying profit before tax sank to £6.9 million, compared to £10 million in the same period last year. On a statutory basis, pre-tax profits fell from £8.6 million to £4.3 million.

Shares closed down 124p, or 16%, at 650p.

In currency, sterling was down 0.2% versus the US dollar at 1.302 and flat against the euro at 1.164.

It came as Bank of England boss Mark Carney has said interest rate hikes are still on the cards after Britain’s growth outlook was upped this year despite Brexit uncertainties.

The Bank held rates at 0.75%, but Mr Carney stressed that financial market expectations that a hike will not come until the end of 2021 would not be enough to keep inflation to the 2% target.

In Europe, Germany’s DAX was up 0.01% and France’s CAC lost 0.85%.

Brent crude was trading at 69 US dollars a barrel, a decline of over 3%.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Smith & Nephew up 44p at 1,519p, Smurfit Kappa up 62p at 2,322p, Royal Dutch Shell B up 46p at 2,475p and Royal Dutch Shell A up 40p at 2,459.5p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Paddy Power down 366p at 6,400p, Micro Focus down 81.4p at 1,758.2p, M&S down 12p at 278.1p and Sainsbury’s down 8.7p at 222.5p.