Oil majors drag UK’s FTSE 100 lower; Burberry slides

By Khushi Singh and Bansari Mayur Kamdar

(Reuters) -UK’s FTSE 100 slipped on Wednesday as energy stocks tracked crude prices lower, while Burberry dipped following underwhelming results from sector bellwether LVMH.

The commodity-heavy FTSE 100 edged 0.1% lower, while the domestically oriented FTSE 250 shed 0.5%.

BP and Shell fell 0.9% and 0.6%, respectively, as oil prices slid a day after top OPEC producer Saudi Arabia pledged to help stabilise the market in the aftermath of the Middle East conflict.

The personal goods sector tumbled 3.7% to hit a 17-month low after Burberry shares fell 3.2% after European peer LVMH reported slower third-quarter sales growth.

Travis Perkins slumped 6.2% as it downgraded its annual profit forecast by as much as 27%, citing UK housing market woes.

Housing-related peers Howden Joinery and Kingfisher fell 4.8% and 2.5%, respectively.

Travis Perkins’ chief executive, Nick Roberts, said market conditions remain challenging with continued weakness across “new-build housing and domestic repair, maintenance and improvements”.

“The only way Travis Perkins can keep the tills ringing is to slash prices and make sure it is offering superior service,” said AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould.

“The former implies lower profit margins and the latter suggests it might need more workers on the shop floor, pushing up costs.”

British apparel retailer Next slid 2.3% after report that it is close to buying fashion chain FatFace in a deal worth more than 100 million pounds ($123 million).

PageGroup fell 2.3% after the global recruiter forecast full-year profit below market expectations.

Mitie Group rose 3.8% as the British outsourcing firm forecast higher annual profit. British transport operator FirstGroup forecast fiscal 2024 profit ahead of its prior expectations, lifting shares by 3.7%.

Meanwhile, data showed British employers cut job vacancies for the first time in more than two-and-a-half years in September and reduced their hiring again, adding to signs of a cooling labour market.

(Reporting by Khushi Singh and Bansari Mayur Kamdar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sohini Goswami, William Maclean)