The Bank of England held the Bank Rate at 0.5% for the twelfth consecutive month on Thursday and, as widely expected, kept its programme of quantitative easing on hold, reports shareprices.com, a free online share dealing resource that provides share information on all ftse100, 250 and 350 London Stock Exchange listed companies.
However, despite the news, investors remained cautious after a series of less than complementary company reports and the FTSE 100 index closed down 6.05 points or 0.1% at 5,527.16, failing to extend its winning streak to a fifth session.
The day also saw the bank shares for oil services and engineering group Amec fall 55p or 6.7% to 765.5p, despite reporting profits of Pounds Sterling 208.3 million, up 13% and ahead of market expectations. Falling oil prices have caused customers to postpone projects and a cautious outlook statement, in which Amec said that trading conditions remained challenging, was sufficient to send investors running for cover.
The insurance sector also experienced a poor day with Aviva, the second largest insurer in the UK, finishing the day down 10.2p or 2.61% at 380p, despite the firm actually reporting a 3% rise in operating profits from Pounds Sterling 3.37 billion to Pounds Sterling 3.48 billion, ahead of market expectations, but cut its dividend by 27% to 24p a share from 33p a share in 2008.
Furthermore, car insurer Admiral, whose full-year results missed market expectations on Tuesday, compounded losses with a fall of a further 32p or 2.58% to 1,210p on Thursday after a series of broker downgrades. Citigroup and Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock to “hold” from “buy” and “equal weight” from “overweight” respectively, following a similar downgrade to “neutral” from “buy” by BoA Merrill Lynch on Wednesday.
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