LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Wobbles As WPP Shares Tumble

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Pound slips below $1.28

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U.K. stocks wavered Wednesday, as a falling pound buoyed exporters, but still struggled to offset a downbeat trend in European equities.

The FTSE 100 was last up 1 point at 7,382.59 after having opened in the red. The consumer services sector was putting in the worst performance.

The FTSE 100 trudged slightly higher as the pound dipped below $1.2800. Sterling also fell against the euro , down about 0.4% at EUR1.0857. Pound strength tends to weigh on shares of London-listed multinational companies with earnings in other currencies.

"This weakness is mainly due to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Britain's future in the EU," said FairFX analysts in a note.

At last check, the pound bought $1.2793, down from $1.2823 late Tuesday in New York.

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WPP bruised: Shares of WPP PLC (WPP.LN) sank 11% after the advertising giant issued a disappointing growth outlook. The stock was on course for its largest percentage loss since October 1998, according to FactSet data.

In a trading update Wednesday, the world's largest advertising company cut its forecast for growth for 2017 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/wpp-revenue-stutters-as-client-spending-drops-2017-08-23), citing major slowdowns in client spending in key industries such as consumer goods and retail.

"The advertising giant cited falling demand from its clients as a reason for the reduced revenue forecast. This is the second time the sale forecast has been trimmed this year, and that is a warning sign to traders, as it could be the start of a trend," said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets.

"In 2017, the share price has created a series of lower lows and lower highs, which is a worrying sign," he said in a note.

In the media group, also exposed to trends in advertising, shares of broadcaster ITV PLC (ITV.LN) fell 1.3% and publisher Pearson PLC (PSON.LN) lost 0.9%. Informa PLC (INF.LN) , an events and publishing company, gave up 0.6%.

Miners rally: On Tuesday, advances in the mining sector helped the FTSE 100 rise 0.9% to break a three-session losing streak (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftse-100-led-higher-by-miners-as-provident-plunges-almost-60-2017-08-22) and log the biggest one-day percentage gain since July 12

Miners continued to move higher Wednesday, with BHP Billiton PLC (BLT.LN) (BHP.AU) (BHP.AU) and Antofagasta PLC (ANTO.LN) up 0.6% and 0.9%, respectively.

Brexit update: A slate of policy papers on Brexit was set to be published by the U.K. government on Wednesday. Reports suggested the government was backing away (http://news.sky.com/story/may-accused-of-brexit-climbdown-over-role-of-european-court-of-justice-11000974) from a harder stance on the European Court of Justice's say in U.K. law.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 23, 2017 05:39 ET (09:39 GMT)