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07 Mar 2019 | 09:19

UK stocks fall ahead of ECB rate decision

UK stocks are falling on Thursday amid bearish sentiment from the US and Asia overnight and ahead of the European Central Bank's rate decision later in the session.

At 08:58, the benchmark FTSE 100 was down 0.42%, or 30.42 points, at 7,165.58.

Bakery chain Greggs edged 0.22% higher as it said Thursday it expects to declare a special dividend in July after reporting annual profits in line with guidance as performance improved in the second half following a weather-related lull in the first half.

National Grid added 0.89% after it said on Thursday it had entered into an agreement to acquire US clean energy developer Geronimo Energy for $100m, expanding its presence in US renewables.

Aviva slipped 1.47% as it reported Thursday a rise in profits led by growth in its life business, though weakness in its fund management businesses capped gains.

Admiral fell 5.43% after it said Thursday profits rose by nearly a fifth supported even as its UK motor business slowed in the second half in the face of rising claims costs.

Asset management company Schroders lost 2.57% as it reported a slump in 2018 pre-tax profit on Thursday amid a 6% drop in its assets under management, but said it remained confident in its future growth.

Defence and aerospace group Cobham dropped 2.21% as it said it planned to reinstate a progressive dividend despite reporting a fall in profits owing to a strong pound and divestment.

Bucking the trend, turnaround specialist Melrose Industries climbed 3.67% as it saw its full-year adjusted pre-tax profit almost triple thanks to its acquisition of British engineering group GKN last year.

North Sea producer Premier Oil jumped 5.28% as it returned to profit in 2018, with a net profit of $133.4m compared to a net loss of $235.8m a year earlier as it achieved higher production and prices for its oil.

Informa added 2.42% after it reported Thursday annual profits grew helped by an increase in revenues amid a boost from acquisitions.

Inmarsat rose 2.83% as it reported Thursday annual profits fell by more than a fifth as a rise in satellite revenues were weighed down by a jump in costs.

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