The FTSE 100 Index was in lacklustre form today as the latest batch of corporate updates failed to inspire investors.
InterContinental Hotels added 1% to its market value, up 6.5p to 738p, after it revealed operating profits ahead of expectations and said it would sell most of its remaining European hotels.
But the mood on the wider market was more sombre with the Footsie standing 7 points lower at 5358.9 by mid-morning, ahead of the Bank of England’s monthly announcement on interest rates.
Rentokil Initial also attracted buying interest, up 1.75p at 165p, as the market awaited a statement from Sir Gerry Robinson on his takeover intentions.
But those on the slide included oil heavyweights BP and Royal Dutch Shell, which racked up modest losses after the recent easing in the oil price to below 65 US dollars a barrel. Royal Dutch Shell lost 9p to 1833p and BP fell a penny to 633.5p.
Clothing retailer Next was the heaviest top flight faller, down 2% or 31p to 1454p, after a trader’s downbeat comments on its forthcoming half year results.
The outlook was also bleak for some smaller stocks updating the market, with furniture retailer MFI dropping 6% after it said orders at its core chain slumped 15% over the last three months.
Tougher market conditions were blamed for the deterioration since the end of its first half, causing shares to weaken 7.5p to 111.75p.
Holiday park operator Parkdean Holidays slumped 17.5p to 214.5p after saying poor summer trading had cast a shadow over its annual results.
But transport group Arriva was moving in the opposite direction as it unveiled improved profits from its UK bus operation, despite a £3m (€4.4m) hike in its half-year fuel bill. Shares edged 1.5p higher to 573.5p.