Britain’s top share index fell on Wednesday, knocked by falls in supermarket Tesco after it reported one of the biggest losses in UK corporate history, and by heavy declines in banking stocks.
Shares in Tesco closed down 5.2%, at the bottom of the FTSE 100, after Britain’s biggest retailer plunged to an annual loss of 6.4 billion pounds ($9.5 billion) and failed to provide details about the planned disposal of assets such as its data-gathering arm Dunnhumby.
“Tesco’s review of Dunnhumby is ‘well-advanced’, but there is no concrete news on its future or indeed the future of any of Tesco’s other operating assets,” analysts at Barclays said in a note.
The stock was still sitting on an 18% gain since the start of 2015, but it was 35% lower than at the start of 2014 as the retailer has been beset by financial and management issues in the past year.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index closed 0.5% lower at 7,028.24 points. The index had been treading water since hitting a record high of 7,119.35 points last week.
Investors were monitoring a standoff between Greece’s government and its creditors over reforms needed to unlock bailout funds amid renewed worries that Greece might have to leave the euro zone.
“The FTSE 100 is very range-bound at the moment and lacks a clear direction,” IG analyst Chris Beauchamp said.
Commercial banks knocked 8.7 points off the FTSE, with Standard Chartered dropping 1.5% after both Citi and Credit Suisse cut their target prices for the stock.
Rolls-Royce Holdings, the world’s second-largest maker of aero engines, rose 4.1% after announcing that Chief Executive John Rishton would retire in July, and be succeeded by Warren East, the former head of Britain’s biggest listed technology company ARM.
Travis Perkins rose 2.7% after Britain’s biggest supplier of building materials posted a 5.1 pct rise in first-quarter like-for-like sales.
Gambling technology company Playtech rose 3.4% after Goodbody Securities upgraded the stock, citing the proposed acquisition of TradeFX as a positive.