UK stocks : FTSE 100 down 0.7 pct
Earnings were in focus after updates from British oil heavyweight Royal Dutch Shell and drugmaker AstraZeneca, and Facebook Inc in the United States, disappointed. Shell alone took 16 points off the blue chip FTSE 100 index after its fourth quarter profit came in nearly $400 million short of expectations.
The FTSE closed down 46.23 points, or 0.7 percent at 6,276.88, edging away from mid-May 2008 highs of 6,376. AstraZeneca shed 3.1 percent after warning of a tough year ahead, while in the United States No.1 social network Facebook fell 3.8 percent after its growth trailed the more aggressive estimates.
Temporary power provider Aggreko took its losses over the last five trading days to more than 11 percent, with traders citing recent press speculation about the potential for another warning on earnings when it reports in March. British banks meanwhile face another round of compensation claims that could total billions of pounds after the regulator found they had widely mis-sold complex interest-rate hedging products to small businesses.
Royal Bank of Scotland shed 1.1 percent.
Retailer Kingfisher fell 1.5 percent after Nomura cut its target price and earnings estimates by 6 percent on the firm as it took a more pessimistic view of the UK market.
Recent results have put a dampener on investor
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