The FTSE 100 is lower on Thursday morning on a busy day of results for the UK’s biggest companies.
By 8.15 a.m. GMT (3.15 a.m. ET) the UK’s benchmark index is down by 0.24% to trade at 7,284 points, pulling back after a solid day on Wednesday.
“Calls for a negative open come despite Fed policy meeting minutes leaving markets a little less hawkish about the timing of the next US rate hike. Solid US data clearly warrants further increases but Trump policy (especially on tax) uncertainty also allows the FOMC to bide its time. ‘Fairly soon’ likely favours May or June versus an imminent March where debate will, nonetheless, surely grow fiercer,” Mike van Dulken of Accendo Markets wrote in his pre-market email a little earlier on Thursday.
Here is the FTSE’s chart:
A bumper crop of results means that there are some major movers on the index, with the likes of Barclays and RSA Insurance at the top of the pile, while EasyJet and Rio Tinto are lagging behind.
Mining giant Rio Tinto has dropped 3.8% after it passed its ex-dividend date on Wednesday. This means that anyone buying shares in the company between now and the end of its financial year 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.
Fellow commodities firm Glencore is having an uninspiring morning in the markets, despite reporting a first profit since the debt crisis that struck the firm in the autumn of 2015.
“The last 18 months have been challenging for Glencore,” chief executive Ivan Glasenberg said in a statement.
“On a positive note, we have demonstrated that Glencore is a strongly cash generative business, even at low points in the cycle, and is capable and willing to react decisively and quickly as circumstances require.”
Glencore opened a little lower, but is now above the line, trading 1.03% higher.
Helping protect the FTSE from bigger losses is Barclays, which has seen shares rise around 2.9% after a strong set of results.
Barclays reported a surge in pre-tax profit in 2016, reaching £3.2 billion from £1.1 billion the year before.
It also reduced conduct charges — mainly customer compensation for the mis-selling of payment protection insurance — from £4.4 billion in 2015 to £1.4 billion last year.
Elsewhere in Europe, markets are fairly listless following the Fed’s minutes, with most bourses in positive territory. Here is the scoreboard: