Belfast Telegraph

FTSE 100 falls from record high as Capita slumps

The FTSE 100 struggled to gain traction on Thursday, as Capita shares dragged on the index and investors took a breather after pushing stocks to record highs a day earlier.

London's blue chip index was little changed, closing lower by a mere 0.55 points at 7,382.35 points.

It was weighed down in part by Capita shares which plunged more than 9% or 51.5p to 513.5p amid a flurry of bad news for the business.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: "It's been a trifecta of woe for Capita today with the company announcing a 33% decline in profits in 2016, losing its place in the FTSE 100 and its CEO Andy Parker announcing his departure after 16 years at the company."

But Mr Hewson also noted that European markets have "taken a bit of a breather" after US President Donald Trump's pledge to slash taxes and unleash an infrastructure spending spree sent indexes like the FTSE 100 to all-time record highs on Wednesday.

Investor attention was also turned to the US, where Snapchat's parent company Snap had its opening day of trade on the New York Stock Exchange, launching at 17 US dollars per share (£13.85). That values the business at around 22 billion US dollars (£17.9 billion).

Across Europe, the French Cac 40 closed higher by 0.06% while the German Dax closed lower by 0.06%.

The pound was mixed, falling 0.15% against the US dollar to 1.227, and rising 0.1% versus the euro to 1.166.

The currency was little affected by the release of the Markit/CIPS UK Construction purchasing managers' index (PMI), which showed a modest rise from 52.2 in January to 52.5 last month.

A reading above 50 indicates growth.

In oil markets, Brent crude prices fell 1.5% to around 55.39 US dollars per barrel (£45.13), after data showed that US crude inventories hit a record high last week, rising by 1.5 million barrels to 520.2 million.

In UK stocks, Dixons Carphone shares dropped 11p to 299p following yesterday's news that it would be booted from the blue chip index as part of the quarterly stock market reshuffle.

Merlin Entertainment shares dropped 15.3p to 482p after saying it was still suffering from the Smiler rollercoaster crash at Alton Towers in 2015. The group said it saw "lower volumes" following the accident, but reported some signs of recovery.

Shares in Travis Perkins fell 96p to 1,469p as the builders' merchant and Wickes DIY chain owner posted a 67% slump in annual profits after taking hefty charges from branch closures and its troubled plumbing and heating business.

GoCompare shares fell 4.5p to 94.5p after operating profits, which included its listing costs on the London Stock Exchange, came in 5% lower at £21.9 million.

Cobham shares soared 16.4p to 138.6p are announcing it would launch another £500 million rights issue as part of efforts to pay down its debt pile.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Convatec Group up 12.3p to 255.7p, Croda International up 112p to 3,595p, DCC up 130p to 6,990p, and BAE Systems up 12p to 650.5p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Capita down 51.5p to 513.5p, Dixons Carphone down 11p to 299p, ITV down 7.4p to 204.3p, and Merlin Entertainment down 15.3p to 482p.