Sector movers: Chemicals and oil lead the slide
The chemicals and oil-related sectors were a big cause of losses in London on Wednesday, while big tobacco was lighting up.
Croda shares were down after first-quarter sales growth from the FTSE 100 chemicals group of 4.0% disappointed investors as it was a slowdown from 5.6% growth last year and short of the 4.7% that the market had pencilled in for the first quarter.
Sector mates Elementis, a day ahead of its own results, and Johnson Matthey were dragged lower.
Analysts at UBS had been expecting growth of 5.7% from Croda for the quarter but said the strong personal care growth "bodes well" for the group margin as the divisions generated margins 38% above the group average in 2017.
The bank said the organic miss was compensated by a likely stronger than expected margin and kept its 'buy', based on the attractive combination of organic investment in renewables and balance sheet opportunities.
Oilers were down as crude prices dropped off from its recent highs. Brent was down to $73.5 a barrel having topped $75 earlier in the week. Tullow Oil shares saw the biggest fall, down 4%, while BP was down almost 2% and Shell less than 1%, while oil services groups Wood Group, Petrofac and Hunting were all down at least 1.5%.
British American Tobacco was on the front foot despite saying it faced currency "headwinds" this year that will hit profits. At the company’s annual general meeting, chairman Richard Burrows said trading was challenging but the group was on track for good earnings growth excluding currency swings.
The news lifted rival Imperial too.
Top performing sectors so far today
Tobacco 41,964.07 +2.97%
Food Producers & Processors 7,305.69 +1.47%
Industrial Metals & Mining 4,214.74 +0.79%
Construction & Materials 6,301.07 +0.62%
Electricity 7,871.65 +0.62%
Bottom performing sectors so far today
Leisure Goods 6,123.20 -3.73%
Chemicals 14,576.58 -2.25%
Oil Equipment, Services & Distribution 12,472.21 -2.15%
Electronic & Electrical Equipment 6,417.67 -1.97%
Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology 13,007.73 -1.91%