Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell comments and Admiral are dragging down the markets

The FTSE 100 index experienced a decline, with Admiral leading the fall due to the motor insurer reducing its full-year dividend.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 lost 0.2%, and the sentiment was already low after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s warning of a quicker and higher pace of monetary tightening.

Admiral Group Plc‘s shares dropped as much as 6.6% and reached a four-month low as a result of the reduced full-year dividend and missing the consensus for full-year profit due to increased claim costs and higher prices of car repairs. The FTSE 350 non-life insurance sector, which includes Admiral, decreased by 2.2%.

Insurer Admiral announced a 39% decrease in annual profits, attributing it to the rising cost of motor claims and soaring inflation. The group reported pre-tax profits of £469m for the year, a significant drop from £769m in 2021.

Following the profit tumble, Admiral reduced its full-year dividend payout by 40% to 112p per share, which led to a 7% decrease in its shares during early trading.

Milena Mondini de Focatiis, Admiral’s Group Chief Executive, acknowledged the “challenging market environment” in which the results were released. She emphasized that the company responded quickly to emerging trends, such as increasing prices in response to inflation while maintaining a conservative approach to reserving and capital management. Additionally, she noted that the company is aware of the difficulties that both its customers and employees have experienced during the year, and their well-being is of utmost importance.

The mid-cap FTSE 250 also fell by 0.7%, and Darktrace shares declined by as much as 7.1% after revealing that it will face a cash flow hit due to higher-than-expected tax obligations from share awards given to its two executive directors.

Darktrace the company listed on the FTSE 250 faced a short-selling attack by US hedge fund QCM in January. Today, the company reiterated its earnings and revenue guidance for the year ending June 2023. However, the company reduced its cash forecast due to the vesting of incentive shares for its two executive directors.

Global markets experienced a decline after Mr. Powell’s statement on Tuesday that the central bank would likely need to raise rates more than expected in response to recent strong US economic data.

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