LONDON: London’s FTSE 100 dropped on Tuesday, as export-heavy companies took a hit from a perky pound, overshadowing a rise in bank shares following HSBC’s quarterly profit beat.
The blue-chip index shed 0.3%, with industrial software company Aveva Group’s 5.4% slump leading declines on the index after its Chief Executive Officer Craig Hayman said he was stepping down.
The pharmaceutical and biotechnology index dropped 2.3%, the most among sectors, while international companies that take a hit to their profits from a rise in local currency dropped, with British American Tobacco, Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser down marginally.
However, losses were limited by HSBC Holdings’ 4% jump after it beat quarterly profit forecasts and released $400 million it had set aside to cover bad loans caused by the pandemic.
The broader banks index added about 2.4%.
The FTSE 100 has gained about 7.5% year-to-date on optimism that speedy COVID-19 vaccinations and constant government policy support would drive a stronger economic recovery.
However, concerns over the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in parts of Asia and prospects of rising inflation as economies reopen have dented sentiment.
The domestically focussed mid-cap FTSE 250 index slipped 0.6%.
Oil major BP Plc’s first-quarter profit more than tripled from a year earlier and the company said it intended to resume share buybacks in the third quarter. Its shares, however, slipped 0.4%.
Its peer Royal Dutch Shell also fell ahead of its results on April 29.