Upbeat UK Budget statement fails to lift shares

George Osborne gave a determinedly upbeat Budget statement on the state of the UK economy and made a point of highlighting the upward revision to growth forecasts by the Office for Budget Responsibility. A year ago, they predicted growth in 2014 would be 1.8% which was revised up to 1.8% at the Autumn statement. Today, the forecast is 2.7%. However, this was well flagged and, in fact, the market was probably looking for something even closer to 3%. What really moved equity markets was the bombshell on changes to pension annuity rules which saw £3 billion wiped off the value of life insurance sector shares. Prudential, L&G, Aviva and Standard Life saw large falls. Gaming stocks like William Hill were also hit by higher taxes. The FTSE 100 fell -0.49%. Gilts recovered some losses in the afternoon as the Debt Management Office signaled a £16 billion reduction in issuance in 2014