Worst day in over a month for FTSE 100; retail sales data disappoints


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London’s FTSE 100 index marked its worst session in over a month on Friday, dragged by weakness in financial and commodities-linked stocks, while data showed retail sales fell in May as Britons dined out more following a lifting of pandemic restrictions.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 ended 2.0% down and shed 1.7% this week, snapping a win streak of three consecutive weeks in gains. Banking and life insurance stocks, down 2.7% and 2.5% respectively, were among the top drags.

Base and precious metal miners, slid 2.4% and 0.2% respectively, as commodity prices fell, especially with copper on track for its biggest weekly fall since March 2020.

Meanwhile, oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell fell 2.7% and 3.1% respectively, tracking weaker crude.

British retail sales fell unexpectedly by 1.4% last month as a lifting of lockdown restrictions encouraged spending in restaurants rather than shops, with food stores suffering the biggest hit.

Britain’s biggest retailer Tesco also reported a sharp slowdown in underlying UK sales growth in its first quarter, sending its shares down 4.1%.

“When the UK government sort of became shifty on its tactics on easing lockdowns, especially on the travel side, it made people less sure of what’s going on and they’ve just kept their hands in their pockets and not been spending so much,” said Keith Temperton, equity sales trader at Forte Securities.

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After the U.S. Federal Reserve’s hawkish turn this week, all eyes are now on the Bank of England’s meeting next week where it is expected to look through the temporary rise in inflation.

“Inflation is rising and unemployment is falling, but the Bank of England isn’t going to do anything about raising interest rates until it’s sure these aren’t just transitory factors emanating from an economy that’s gone from red to green,” said Laith Khalaf, financial analyst at AJ Bell, in a note.

The domestically focused mid-cap index fell 1% dragged by retailers, industrials and financial stocks.

Among individual stocks, While Kin and Carta rose 6.6% after Dutch insurer Aegon NV disclosed a 5.24% stake in the digital transformation services company. (Reporting by Devik Jain and Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Jonathan Oatis)



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