(Corrects headline, paragraph 1 to remove reference to "profit
warning" from Shell)
FTSE 100 up flat, FTSE 250 adds 0.2%
Imperial Brands rises on share buyback plan
Weaker refining, gas trading to hit Shell's Q3 results
Construction activity improves unexpectedly
Oct 6 (Reuters) - UK's stock indexes were muted on
Thursday as a slide in financial shares offset strength in
beaten-down consumer and travel and leisure stocks, while Shell
said its third-quarter profit would be pressured by falling oil
The export-oriented FTSE 100 was flat, while the
more domestically oriented FTSE 250 added 0.2% by 0830 GMT in
Consumer stocks were boosted by Ocado and Imperial
Brands after the latter announced a 1 billion pounds
($1.13 billion) share buyback programme and said FY22 trading
was in line with expectations.
Retailer Ocado rose 2.2% after slumping on Wednesday, while
shares of the tobacco company jumped 3.8%.
"There is a sense that some equities have been oversold,
providing a chance for opportunistic investors to go bargain
hunting", said Victoria Scholar, Head of Investment, Interactive
"Today's pick-up in risk appetite has bolstered demand for
some of the most heavily discounted stocks like Ocado."
Shell slid 4% after the oil major said its
third-quarter profits would be pressured by a near halving of
oil refining margins, crumbling chemical margins and weaker
natural gas trading.
Its peer BP Plc slipped 0.8%.
After weeks of financial turmoil, investors have been taking
a breather entering into the new quarter. A Reuters poll now
shows analysts projecting the pound to be 3.6% stronger in a
"Hawkish central bank policy, dangerously high inflation
levels and the potential for a looming recession seems like the
final quarter is likely to be another bumpy ride with the
possibility for some stocks to outperform", Scholar added.
Fitch, meanwhile, lowered the outlook for its credit rating
for British government debt to "negative" from "stable", days
after a similar move from rival Standard & Poor's following the
government's Sept. 23 fiscal statement.
Activity among British construction companies improved
unexpectedly last month, although the outlook darkened as growth
in new orders dried up, a survey showed on Thursday.
Volution Group climbed 11.7% after the ventilation
products supplier posted strong FY revenue and profit and hiked
($1 = 0.8843 pounds)
(Reporting by Johann M Cherian in Bengaluru; editing by