U.K. stocks fell, extending their lowest level since April, amid concern over the Ukraine crisis and as companies from Old Mutual Plc to Randgold Resources Ltd. reported financial results.
Old Mutual declined 1.7 percent after Africa’s largest insurer said first-half earnings fell as the rand weakened. Randgold dropped 1.7 percent after profit missed analysts’ estimates. Aviva Plc advanced 2.6 percent after reporting earnings that beat projections.
The FTSE 100 Index slid 38.79 points, or 0.6 percent, to 6,597.37 at the close in London, the lowest level since April 16. The benchmark gauge fell 0.7 percent yesterday as tension escalated amid a buildup of Russian troops along the Ukrainian border. The broader FTSE All-Share Index dropped 0.5 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index fell 0.2 percent for a seventh day of losses, the longest streak in three years.
The FTSE 100 earlier pared declines after the Bank of England kept its interest rate unchanged at a record low 0.5 percent, as economists had forecast. The European Central Bank left its main refinancing rate at 0.15 percent as projected.
Russia banned U.S. and European food imports including cheese, fish, beef, pork, fruit, vegetables and dairy products, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at a cabinet meeting in Moscow today. President Vladimir Putin’s government also restricted such imports from Canada, Australia and Norway as it sought to retaliate against nations that have imposed or supported sanctions against Russia.
Old Mutual dropped 1.7 percent to 190.6 pence after reporting first-half adjusted earnings of 424 million pounds ($714 million), down from 448 million pounds a year earlier. The insurer said conditions will remain challenging for its emerging-market businesses in the next six months, and a strengthening pound will hurt results.
Randgold declined 1.7 percent to 5,070 pence after reporting second-quarter net income of $53 million, missing the average of two analyst estimates of $56.1 million. Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow said he expects gold output to be “well in the middle” of the company’s full-year forecast for a 25 percent to 30 percent increase.
Aviva rose 2.6 percent to 502.5 pence after also increasing its interim dividend by 4.5 percent to 5.85 pence a share. The U.K.’s second-biggest insurer by market value said first-half operating profit rose to 1.05 billion pounds, exceeding the average analyst projection of 1.03 billion pounds.