LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Downshifts After Wave Of Earnings, Ahead Of Trump Tax Rollout

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

BHP Billiton cuts coking coal, copper outlook

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U.K. stocks leaned lower Wednesday, with investors assessing a new batch for earnings results while they wait to hear much-anticipated tax plans from U.S. President Donald Trump.

The FTSE 100 was down 0.2% at 7,264.51, led by losses among utility and industrial shares. The index on Tuesday rose 0.2% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftse-100-edges-higher-after-rally-but-mining-stocks-hit-by-downgrades-2017-04-25).

A new wave of financial results includes figures from metals producers Fresnillo PLC and BHP Billiton PLC and exchange operator London Stock Exchange Group PLC.

More broadly, investors will turn attention to the U.S., where Trump is expected to roll out a "big tax reform and tax reduction" package. His proposal is expected to include cutting the corporate tax rate to 15% from 35%. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trumps-15-corporate-tax-rate-could-cost-the-government-2-trillion-2017-04-25)

Equity markets worldwide in recent months have been bolstered by expectations for Trump-backed tax and reform policies in the U.S., the world's largest economy, but there have also been doubts about implementation of his proposals after losing his push to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

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"Given that investors have been waiting for details on that [tax] plan for months, any specifics that are more or less in line with what Trump pledged during his campaign may result in a fresh round of gains for the dollar and the U.S. equities," said Charalambos Pissouros, senior analyst at IronFX, in a note.

"There is also the case that we don't get any specifics, but only a general announcement regarding what the president wants to get done without any real numbers. In such a case, the market reaction may be limited, or even negative if the lack of clarity disappoints market participants once again."

Movers: Fresnillo PLC shares (FRES.LN) fell 1.3% as the precious metals miner said quarterly gold production was down 3.3% at 222,300 ounces. Silver production, however, rose, and Fresnillo said it's on track to reach full-year production guidance (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fresnillo-on-track-to-reach-production-guidance-2017-04-26).

(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trumps-15-corporate-tax-rate-could-cost-the-government-2-trillion-2017-04-25)Antofagasta PLC (ANTO.LN) reaffirmed its 2017 production outloo (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/antofagasta-copper-production-rises-94-2017-04-26-24852733)k as it reported a 9.4% increase in first-quarter copper production compared with the year before. Shares were down 0.2%.

BHP Billiton (BLT.LN) (BHP.AU) (BHP.AU) scaled back guidance for annual production of coking coal and copper (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bhp-billiton-cuts-coking-coal-copper-guidance-2017-04-26-24851958)after a cyclone battered eastern Australia last month and a lengthy strike at the Escondida mine in Chile. BHP also narrowed its forecast for iron-ore output for the fiscal year. Shares were up 0.5%.

Topping the FTSE 100, Croda International PLC shares (CRDA.LN) gain 3.7% after the specialty chemicals company said its 2017 outlook remains unchanged after a 19.1% rise in first-quarter sales (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/croda-sales-rise-back-fiscal-year-outlook-2017-04-26).

London Stock Exchange Group PLC (LSE.LN) posted a rise in quarterly income and gross profit (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/lse-profit-jumps-eyes-new-investments-2017-04-26). Shares of moved up 0.3%.

The pound traded at $1.2820, down from $1.2841 late Tuesday in New York.

(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bhp-billiton-cuts-coking-coal-copper-guidance-2017-04-26-24851958)

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 26, 2017 03:59 ET (07:59 GMT)