AstraZeneca, RBS earnings weigh on London markets

AstraZeneca, RBS earnings weigh on London markets

London markets declined as earnings from Royal Bank of Scotland and AstraZeneca disappointed investors.

How did markets perform?

The U.K.’s FTSE 100 UKX, -0.18%  was at 7,376.5, flat on Friday. It slumped 0.5% Thursday.

The pound GBPUSD, +0.2559%  was up 0.1% to $1.2914 after a dip of 0.4% Thursday.

What’s moving the markets?

Outside of another batch of results, the global economy was in focus. Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, giving assurance that the yuan exchange rate will be stable at reasonable levels. The yuan climbed 0.2% on the news.

In Japan, industrial production slumped unexpectedly in March to a 0.9% contraction versus expected growth of 0.1%. The figures added yet another puzzling data point to the difficult-to-read outlook for the global economy, which has been marginally brighter in recent days.

Which stocks are active?

Royal Bank of Scotland Plc RBS, -3.80%  , which announced its own major news Thursday when CEO Ross McEwan said he was stepping down, reported stronger than expected first quarter profits on Friday. But its pretax profit fell short of expectations. The bank, which still counts the U.K. government as its majority shareholder, warned that Brexit uncertainty would cloud the revenue picture over the next few months. RBS shares fell 4.3%.

Online fast food company Just Eat Plc JE., -4.35%  reported slowing order growth in the U.K. but stronger gains internationally. Orders outside the U.K. excluding Mexico were up 40%. Markets were unimpressed, with shares down 3.8%.

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca Plc AZN, -1.92%  beat estimates with first quarter net profit of $593 million, a 74% improvement year over year, and backed its full year guidance. Shares initially rose but later retreated 0.9%.

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