FTSE 100 slips to five-month low following a glum quarterly report from firms

(Reuters) – London’s FTSE 100 hit a five-month low on Thursday as glum quarterly reports from firms, including British Airways-owner IAG, weighed on sentiment ahead of a parliament address by finance minister Rishi Sunak on the economic outlook.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index .FTSE fell 0.2%, with IAG ICAG.L slipping 1.3% after the airline group posted a quarterly loss and further downgraded its capacity outlook for the rest of the year.

The domestically-focussed mid-cap FTSE 250 index .FTMC lost 0.1%, dragged by a 16.5% slump in real estate firm Shaftesbury Plc SHB.L following a share offering.

“A lot of doom and gloom of earnings is quite priced into the markets and when we’re heading into a second wave (of the coronavirus), that’s going to create a lot more uncertainty, especially around businesses’ ability to open their doors,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda in London.

UK stock markets are set for a second straight weekly loss, with investors fearful that a new round of coronavirus restrictions could hammer a nascent economic recovery.

With the UK’s main furlough scheme ending this month, Sunak is due to address parliament around 1030 GMT where he is probably going to adjust course slightly on job support, police minister Kit Malthouse said.

Meanwhile, Britain will resume talks on a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union on Thursday, marking a new push by the two sides to protect billions of dollars worth of trade from the beginning of next year.

In company news, Unilever Plc ULVR.L rose 1.2% after it reported a stronger-than-expected return to sales growth in the third quarter, led by emerging markets where it generates the bulk of its revenue.

Rentokil Initial Plc RTO.L gained 2.5% as the pest control firm posted a 9.8% rise in third-quarter revenue due to higher demand for its disinfection services.

Reporting by Devik Jain