UK stocks track sideways as investors eye Fed

Wed, 27th Jan 2021

UK stocks tracked sideways in early trading on Wednesday as investors braced for the US Federal Reserve's latest update on monetary policy, due later in the day. At 0822, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down a modest 4.25 points at 6,649.76. The ongoing threat of the pandemic was highlighted by the UK's death toll surpassing 100,000. Gold and silver miner Fresnillo reversed 3% after it forecast lower production for 2021, citing Covid-19 uncertainty and operational challenges in Mexico. Wealth management company Brewin Dolphin added 0.7% to 298p after it reported a 7% rise in fourth-quarter revenue, driven by a positive market performance and high commissions. Oil producer Tullow Oil dropped 3.7% to 30.1p on guiding for lower operating earnings for 2020 and another drop in output for 2021. Tullow Oil also said it had started discussions with its creditors with regards to its debt refinancing options. Rival oil company Diversified Gas & Oil shed 0.6% to 113.51p, even as it reported an 18% rise in annual output that it said helped its 2020 results meet market expectations. IT professional services provider FDM was flat at £10.18 after it cut its final dividend amid a fall in annual earnings and revenue. FDM declared a final dividend of 13p per share, down from 18.5p year-on-year, bringing total payouts for the year to 31.5p, down from 34.5p in 2019. Home repairs and improvements business HomeServe was unchanged, too, at £10.80 on announcing the appointment Tommy Breen as chairman designate, to succeed Barry Gibson. Breen, a former chief executive of Irish marketing group DCC, would become chairman on 19 May. Infrastructure investor 3i Infrastructure gained 0.6% to 304.35p after it said it was on track to meet its annual dividend target amid a fall in quarterly income that nevertheless met its expectations. 3i Infrastructure was targeting a dividend of 9.8p per share for the year through March, a year-on-year increase of 6.5%. Furniture retailer ScS was flat at 210p, even as it announced that its first-half gross sales had risen 14%, due to significant order intake following the end of the UK's first national Covid lockdown last year. ScSÂ’s order intake, however, had slumped in more recent weeks due to store closures linked to the country's third lockdown. Agricultural product supplier Wynnstay dropped 4.4% to 348.9p as it reported a 7.5% fall in annual profit, after sales were hit by lower commodity prices amid the pandemic. Wynnstay, however, increased its full-year dividend 4.3% to 14.6p per share after underlying earnings were boosted by lower spending. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com

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