• Deliveroo fourth-quarter order growth jumps
• Premier Foods top midcap gainer on strong profit outlook
• Unilever abandons plan to buy GSK’s healthcare arm
• FTSE 100 down 0.1pc, FTSE 250 adds 0.3pc
LONDON: London’s FTSE 100 slipped on Thursday on weakness in oil stocks and GlaxoSmithKline, while food delivery platform Deliveroo jumped on order growth hitting the top of its outlook range.
The blue-chip index ended 0.1% lower, weighed down by oil majors Royal Dutch Shell and BP as they tracked weaker crude oil prices.
GlaxoSmithKline fell 1.8% and was among the biggest loser on the FTSE 100 after consumer goods giant Unilever late on Wednesday effectively ended its pursuit of a business that the pharmaceuticals company plans to spin off later this year.
However, the blue-chip index is set to gain for the fifth consecutive week, helped by strength in commodity-linked shares and banking stocks, significantly outperforming the pan-European STOXX 600.
Food delivery company Deliveroo rose 1.4% on strong fourth-quarter order value growth, resulting in it hitting the top of its outlook range for the year.
“The effective lockdown conditions created by Omicron undoubtedly helped (Deliveroo), but with restrictions starting to be lifted, this supportive trend is rapidly moving into the rear-view mirror,” Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday announced the end of COVID-19 measures including mandatory face masks in England.
The domestically focussed mid-cap index rose 0.3%
Primark owner Associated British Foods dropped 4.2% after it said the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant dented shopper numbers in December.
Premier Foods was among the top midcap gainer, up 7.8%, and said it expects full-year profits above market expectations, as its trademark Mr Kipling brand delivered its best-ever Christmas sales.