Credit checking firm Experian was the biggest blue chip faller, with shares shedding 6 per cent after it warned of “headwinds” over the next six months.
The stock dipped 74p to 1,060p as it said subdued trading conditions in Brazil due to the World Cup were among the factors that would drag on its next half-year figures.
The wider market staged a late comeback after spending most of the day deep in the red. The FTSE 100 Index closed just 2.12 points lower at 6,796.44 despite further setbacks for both the banking and supermarket sectors.
Chris Beauchamp, market analyst at IG, said: “London markets have struggled to find their footing all day, weighed down by some poor news from HSBC that adds to the gloom cast by Barclays.”
HSBC was 7.6p lower at 596.5p after it reported a slide in first quarter profits due to weaker earnings in Asia and from its investment banking division. Barclays fell 1.7p to 243.3p and Lloyds Banking Group dropped 1.8p to 76.7p in a tough week for banking stocks.
Meanwhile the latest data from Kantar Worldpanel revealed that Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons all lost market share over the last 12 weeks as competition from the discounters Aldi and Lidl intensified.
Morrisons fell 11.2p to 190.8p and was joined on the fallers’ board by Sainsbury’s after the rival chain surrendered an initial rise seen in the wake of annual profits at the top end of City expectations.
Sainsbury’s shares were up by nearly 2 per cent at one stage but later closed 9.5p lower at 323.9p following the Kantar figures and expectations that the group will post lower profits in the current financial year.
Tesco shares were 1.8p lower at 286.1p.