Lloyds Bank loss hits FTSE 100, AstraZeneca gains

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen outside the entrance of the London Stock Exchange in London

(Reuters) – Gloomy quarterly results from Lloyds Bank and a clutch of other companies led the FTSE 100 lower on Thursday, while AstraZeneca rose after topping analysts’ expectations on the back of strong drug sales during coronavirus-driven lockdowns.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 () was down 0.4%, with Lloyds Banking Group (L:) sliding 5.9% after swinging to a rare pretax loss in the first half of 2020 due to higher-than-expected loan loss provisions.

The mid-cap FTSE 250 () slipped 0.3%, led by a 2.4% fall for car dealer Inchcape (L:) as it said it also posted a pretax loss in the first half of the year.

The autos index () was among the biggest decliners in early trading, extending losses for the year to nearly 50% as the COVID-19 pandemic hammers car sales in the UK. Data on Thursday showed British car output fell by more than an annual 40% in the first six months to the lowest level since 1954.

AstraZeneca (L:) rose 1.8% as it beat second-quarter sales and profit estimates and backed its 2020 forecasts, helped by strong sales of a diverse product range that now includes a potential coronavirus vaccine.

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