Shares in the FTSE 100 slipped on Thursday, as the UK’s blue chip index was pulled lower by several firms passing their ex-dividend date.
This means that anyone buying shares in these companies between now and the end of their financial years will not receive a dividend, and instead that dividend will be paid out to the person selling the shares.
Shares in major firms tend to slide when passing the ex-dividend date, as without a dividend the total return on any stock will generally be lower, making it a less attractive investment.
Royal Dutch Shell, BP, pharmaceutical AstraZeneca, and Imperial Brands, which makes cigarette brands including West, Davidoff, and Golden Virginia Tobacco all went ex-dividend on Thursday, providing a significant drag on the bourse.
Other drags included copper miner Antofagasta (down 2.37%), and building supplies firm Travis Perkins (down 2.41%).
At the other end of the index, Coca-Cola Hellenic — one of the world’s largest bottlers of Coca-Cola — gained 4.77% to top the FTSE after a strong set of results earlier on Thursday.
All-in-all, the FTSE ended down by 0.34% or 24.9 points to finish trade at 7,277.5.
“AstraZeneca, BP and Imperial brands going Ex-div were the difference-makers for a listless FTSE 100. Pharma stocks top and tailed the UK equity benchmark,” Jasper Lawler of London Capital Group said in an emailed roundup of the day’s market moves.
Here is the chart of the day’s performance:
Elsewhere in Europe, equity indexes were largely negative, with only Italy’s FTSE MIB, and a handful of peripheral bourses closing in positive territory. Here is the scoreboard: