Gloomy earnings spark decline in British equities

By Khushi Singh and Bansari Mayur Kamdar

(Reuters) -The UK’s FTSE 100 declined on Thursday as Standard Chartered led a slide in bank stocks and Unilever led a drop in consumer shares after the two blue-chip companies posted disappointing earnings.

The FTSE 100 closed 0.8% lower, while the mid-cap FTSE 250 slid 0.5%.

Shares of Standard Chartered dropped 12.4% to the bottom of FTSE 100 after the UK lender reported a 33% tumble in third-quarter pre-tax profit due to a nearly $1 billion hit from exposure to China’s banking and troubled real estate sectors.

The broader banks index slid 1.8%.

Unilever’s new boss Hein Schumacher laid out long-awaited plans to simplify the business after admitting it had underperformed in recent years, but its shares fell 2.8% as some investors were unimpressed.

“Between higher interest rates and inflation that continues to remain high, companies are being hit heavily,” said Daniela Hathorn, senior market analyst, at

WPP, the world’s largest ad group, cut its full-year outlook for the second quarter in a row, taking its shares down 1.0%.

Renishaw fell 2.2% after the British engineering company posted a drop in quarterly profit and revenue.

A survey published by U.S. bank Citi showed the British public’s expectations for year-ahead inflation continued to ease in September.

Meanwhile, another set of data showed Britain’s car output in September rose nearly 40% year-over-year, driven by an uptick in export demand.

Pest control maker Rentokil fell for the tenth straight day, down 10.6%, as traders kept selling after last week when the company warned of weakness in its biggest market, North America

(Reporting by Khushi Singh and Bansari Mayur Kamdar; Editing by Savio D’Souza and Sharon Singleton)