A surge in Worldpay shares and gains among British supermarkets were not enough to offset a broad-based decline among UK shares on Wednesday, after a strong start to the second half for the UK’s top share index. Britain’s blue-chip FTSE 100 index was down 0.2 percent at 7,359.45 points by 0847 GMT, having broken a four-day losing streak in the previous session. Mid caps also declined 0.2 percent. Payments firm Worldpay was the biggest gainer, rocketing 14 percent after confirming an approach for a potential deal.
This comes after Danish peer Nets rose in the previous session after confirming that it had received an offer from potential buyers. Tuesday saw banking stocks ease 0.3 percent, following strong gains in the previous session, while oil stocks were also a weak spot as the price of oil fell ahead of the U.S. holiday.
Shares in oil majors BP fell 0.5 percent, while lenders HSBC and Standard Chartered were 0.7 percent and 0.5 percent lower. Results helped shares in grocer Sainsbury edge around 1 percent higher, after Britain’s second-largest supermarket said sales growth accelerated in its latest quarter, helped by inflation and warm weather.
Shares in peer Morrison nudged 0.2 percent higher, while Tesco was up 0.1 percent. The impact of inflation, both on wages and on the cost of food imports, has been a cause for concern for the UK supermarket sector since sterling’s drop in the aftermath of the referendum vote to leave the European Union last June.
“You’ve got the dual impact of higher prices which is pushing revenue up. What we don’t see today is the effect that has on (Sainsbury’s) cost, so it’s a bit of a double-edged sword,” George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said.
“My overall impression is that while things are moving forwards, the headwinds are looking strong as well, so it’s just a tough time for the sector.”
Outside of the blue chips, small cap stock Imagination Technologies jumped around 8 percent after reporting full year results, saying it returned to profitability. Its shares remain down nearly 40 percent year to date after Apple, its biggest customer, said in April it would stop using Imagination’s graphics technology in its new products.