INVESTOR enthusiasm remained tempered on Wednesday as the FTSE 100 index remained in negative territory for a second day this week, slipping 32 points to end the day's trading at 5743.
A short burst of positivity followed the lunchtime announcement from the commerce department that US economic growth, as measured by gross domestic product, rose at an annualised rate of 1.7% in the second quarter of the year. This was ahead of its July estimate of 1.5% but behind the 2% of the first quarter.
Despite an early morning rise to top the FTSE 100 leader board, Serco ended the day with only a 0.6% rise. The outsourcing company released results for the first half of the year showing revenue increased 4.3% with good performance globally held back by challenging conditions in the US. The share price closed at 566p.
At the other end of the spectrum, the mining sector had a poor day. Glencore lead the fallers with a 4% drop to 369p after Tuesday's media reports that Norway's sovereign wealth fund manager, Norges Bank Investment Management, had been buying Xstrata shares in an attempt to gain influence for a possible veto of a proposed merger with Glencore.
Xstrata shares had a similarly poor day with a 1.6% fall to 924.1p.
Copper miner Antofagasta fared slightly better relatively with a 0.8% fall to 1123p after also releasing half year results.
Revenue increased 3.5%, helped by a 16.5% increase in copper production despite a decrease in average copper market prices.
Opsec was one North Index constituent that managed to make a positive move after releasing a statement ahead of its AGM stating that “trading through the first quarter of the current financial year has been in line with management expectations and significantly ahead of the same period in the prior year.” The shares rose 3.5% to finish at 45p.