London’s FTSE 100 slipped on Thursday weighed down by underwhelming earnings from mining companies, while gains in airline stocks and brick maker Ibstock helped the midcap index stay afloat.
The blue-chip index edged 0.1% lower.
Mining stocks fell 4.2%, led by a 6.7% decline in Anglo American after the company lowered its production outlook due to inflation.
“The earnings season is probably the focus at the minute,” said Ian Williams, economist and strategist at Peel Hunt.
“With wage costs and raw material costs going up as well as supply chain disruptions… the risk to earnings forecast is very much from the cost line rather than the revenue line.”
BHP Group fell 1.4% after the world’s largest listed miner reported weaker-than-expected iron ore production for the March quarter due to a pandemic-related labour crunch.
Antofagasta lost 7.5% as the Chilean miner’s first-quarter copper production fell 24% year-on-year to 138,800 tonnes hit by continued drought and lower grades.
Meanwhile, investor focus was also on comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey and European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde due later in the day.
“We’re in a bit of a no man’s land currently waiting for more guidance on central bank monetary policy, the view that seems to be shifting on a daily basis,” Williams said.
Defensive consumer staple stocks such as Diageo, Unilever and drugmaker AstraZeneca gained between 1% and 2%, limiting losses on the FTSE 100 index.
The domestically focused midcap FTSE 250 index rose 0.4%, with Wizz Air and Easyjet rising 5.1% and 3%, respectively.
U.S. peer United Airlines Holdings had unexpectedly forecast a profit for the second quarter on booming travel demand.
Ibstock climbed 7.9% as the company forecast full-year performance ahead of its expectations.
Pest control services provider Rentokil Initial gained 2.9% on strong current-quarter momentum.