Shares in Associated British Foods were down on the FTSE 100 in afternoon trading ahead of the group's interim results, expected tomorrow.

In February the group said that half year results are likely to be in line with analyst expectations, although there were signs that the group's Primark stores might suffer the effects of the VAT rise and higher cotton prices.

Keith Bowman, analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said ahead of the results, "The group is expected to report progress, although tough comparatives, challenges at Primark and increased costs for the group's Ingredients business are expected to dampen the performance. Ahead of the results, market consensus opinion currently denotes a hold."

By 13:45 shares in Associated British Foods were down 0.38 per cent on the FTSE 100 to 1,036.00 pence per share.