Blue-chips fade as AstraZeneca sickens

Blue-chips fade as AstraZeneca sickens

With the FTSE 100 already up more than 7pc so far in January, the signs of weakness in the earnings season prompted some investors to lock in profits on the last day of the month.

London’s benchmark index slipped 33 points to 6289 in morning trading on Thursday.

“Given the mixed results and the markets have risen so much this month, so it’s no surprise to see some money being take off the table,” said Vinay Sharma, trader at Gekko Capital Markets.

“Because it’s the last day of the month … I would expect some pressure on the FTSE as we approach the close. It’s down 20 (points) already, so we could possibly go another 20 points from here,” Sharma said.

But BSkyB managed to defy the downward trend on Thursday, rising 1.4pc. Shares in the pay-TV giant were boosted by half-year pre-tax profits rising to £487m from £441m last time.

Group revenue meanwhile swelled by 5pc to £3.5bn in the reporting period. The company added that it now has 10.7m paying customers after signing up 88,000 clients in the three months to December.

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