(Alliance News) - Stock prices in London opened mixed on Wednesday with UK grocers in the red after Tesco reported a drop in annual profit that missed analyst forecasts.
The FTSE 100 index was up 3.75 points, or 0.1%, at 6,894.24. The mid-cap FTSE 250 was down 21.46 points, or 0.1%, at 22,247.00. The AIM All-Share index was up 0.1% at 1,246.31.
The Cboe UK 100 index was down 0.1% at 686.40. The Cboe 250 was up 0.1% at 19,874.30. The Cboe Small Companies was up 0.1% at 14,303.75.
In mainland Europe, the CAC 40 index in Paris and the DAX 30 in Frankfurt were up 0.5% and 0.2% respectively.
In the FTSE 100, Glencore was the best performer, up 2.0%, after Goldman Sachs upgraded the miner and commodities trader to Buy from Neutral.
UK fashion house Burberry was up 1.6% in a positive read-across from continental peer LVMH Moet Hennessey Louis Vuitton.
The French luxury goods company late Tuesday said it kicked off the new year with a sales surge and added that its first-quarter revenue even topped 2019's levels.
LVMH shares were up 2.5% in Paris, while Gucci-owner Kering was up 1.7% and Hermes International ups 0.8%.
AstraZeneca was up 1.2% after the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker said its Tagrisso drug has been approved in China for early-stage lung cancer.
At the other end of the large-caps, Tesco was the worst performer, down 3.5%, after the supermarket chain reported a drop in annual profit despite "exceptionally strong" sales growth during the Covid-19 pandemic.
For the year that ended February 27, revenue including fuel was GBP57.9 billion, down 0.4% from GBP58.1 billion in financial 2020 and pretax profit was GBP825 million, down 20% from GBP1.03 billion.
Revenue excluding VAT and fuel on a comparable 52-week basis was GBP53.45 billion, up 7.1% on GBP49.95 billion the year before but missing the company-compiled consensus forecast of GBP58.41 billion, while pretax profit missed the estimate of GBP891 million.
The UK's largest supermarket chain held its annual dividend at 9.15 pence by declaring a 5.59 final payout.
Blue-chip peer J Sainsbury was 1.7% lower and midcap rival Wm Morrison Supermarkets was off 0.9% in a negative read-across.
In the FTSE 250, QinetiQ was the best performer, up 7.5%, after the defence engineering company said it expects to post annual results above previous guidance and above market consensus expectations.
QinetiQ expects full-year underlying operating profit margin percentage to be "modestly ahead" of that delivered in the first half, resulting in underlying operating profit for the full year of at least GBP147 million. In January, it had guided for annual operating profit of GBP130 million.
easyJet was up 3.0%. The budget airline said its interim results for the financial year that ended March 31 were slightly better than expectations, and it maintains significant liquidity, while also saying second-quarter cash burn was better than guidance.
easyJet said it has operated a "disciplined" flying programme over the winter months whilst continuing to deliver a major restructuring and cost reduction programme. It posted a headline pretax loss of GBP193 million last year.
As a result, the carrier expects to report a first half headline pretax loss in the range of GBP690 million to GBP730 million, which is slightly better than expectations.
At the other end of the midcaps, Airtel Africa was the worst performer, down 13% at 73.91p. JPMorgan Securities said an institutional investor sold 50 million shares in Airtel at 75.0p each for GBP37.5 million in total.
The Japanese Nikkei 225 index closed down 0.4% on Wednesday. The Shanghai Composite closed up 0.6%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was up 1.4%. The S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney closed up 0.7%.
The pound was quoted at USD1.3797 early Wednesday, up from USD1.3738 at the London equities close on Tuesday.
The euro was priced at USD1.1964, up from USD1.1930. Against the Japanese yen, the dollar was quoted at JPY108.88, lower from JPY109.25.
Brent oil was trading at USD64.59 a barrel Wednesday morning, higher against USD63.84 at the London equities close on Tuesday. Gold was trading at USD1,747.28 an ounce, up from USD1,742.96.
Wednesday's economic calendar has eurozone industrial output figures at 1000 BST.
By Arvind Bhunjun; email@example.com
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