FTSE 100 ends October on glum note; BP drops on sluggish earnings

By Khushi Singh and Siddarth S

(Reuters) -Britain’s FTSE 100 ended October on a gloomy note on Tuesday dragged down by commodity-linked stocks with oil giant BP leading declines after it reported lower than expected quarterly earnings.

The commodity-focused FTSE 100 slipped 0.1% and ended 3.8% lower for the month, marking its worst monthly performance since May.

BP shares dropped 4.6%, to the bottom of the FTSE 100 after the oil company missed third-quarter earnings estimates, hurt by a large drop in energy prices from a year earlier.

“While the company (BP) appears to be continuing its so called ‘performing while transforming’ strategy there appears to be an increasing concern that the current strategy is neither transforming nor performing,” Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK said in a note.

Shares in peer Shell fell 1.5%, with the broader oil and gas index down 2.5% on the news.

Industrial metal miners dipped 1.3%, tracking lower base metal prices as demand concerns resurfaced after weak manufacturing data from top consumer China.

Capping losses, the aerospace and defence index gained 1.8%, led by a 6.6% rise in Rolls Royce to the top of the FTSE 100 after Barclays raised the stock to overweight from equal weight.

The mid-cap FTSE 250 rose 0.4%, but fell 6.5% in October, marking the worst month for the index in over a year.

Meanwhile, industry data showed prices in British store chains rose at the slowest pace in more than a year in October. The data comes before the Bank of England’s policy meeting on Thursday at which it is expected to keep interest rates steady.

Rate-sensitive homebuilders and real estate gained 1% and 1.63% respectively.

Vodafone lost 1.3%, after the telecom company announced the sale of its Spanish business for 5 billion euros ($5.30 billion) to Zegona Communications.

(Reporting by Khushi Singh and Siddarth S in Bengaluru; Editing by Sohini Goswami, Sonia Cheema and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)