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FTSE 100 ends flat as ex-dividend trades weigh; Dr. Martens slumps on margin warning

FTSE 100 ends flat as ex-dividend trades weigh; Dr. Martens slumps on margin warning By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

By Shashwat Chauhan and Shristi Achar A

(Reuters) -London’s blue-chip FTSE 100 index was subdued on Thursday as gains in miners were offset by losses in shares trading ex-dividend, while bootmaker Dr. Martens tumbled to the bottom of midcap index after warning of a sharp hit to profit margins.

The FTSE 100 ended flat, while the domestically focused FTSE 250 midcaps rose 0.2%.

Intertek Group (LON:ITRK) gained 4.6% to top the FTSE 100 index after the British inspection and product testing company posted 9% revenue growth year-to-date.

Overall trading was subdued as U.S. markets were shut for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Investors appeared to take comfort from minutes of the Federal Reserve’s November meeting released on Wednesday that showed policymakers agreed it would “likely soon be appropriate” to slow the pace of interest rate hikes.

“The takeaway is that we are possibly at the start of a more dovish narrative from the Fed and that, going forward, there is hope that dovish narrative will gain momentum,” said Stuart Cole, head macro economist at Equiti Capital.

Bank of England Deputy Governor Dave Ramsden backed more interest rate hikes on Thursday, but said he would consider cutting rates if the economy and inflation pressures panned out differently to his expectation.

The FTSE 100 has rallied more than 11% since Oct. 13 when a botched mini-budget roiled sentiment, with investors hoping that measures by the new government will help instil confidence even as Britain faces what is expected to be a lengthy recession.

Among other stocks, Dr. Martens plunged 22.7% to log its worst day on record after forecasting its annual core profit margin would be lower than last year due to weaker-than-expected demand ahead of the key Christmas season, increased investments and the strong dollar.

Shares of Vodafone (LON:VOD), Imperial Brands (LON:IMB) and National Grid (LON:NG) slid and were among the biggest decliners on the FTSE 100 as they traded without entitlement for dividend payout.

Kingfisher (LON:KGF) fell 1.6% after trimming its full-year profit guidance.

FTSE 100 ends flat as ex-dividend trades weigh; Dr. Martens slumps on margin warning

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