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FTSE 100 Falls as Ocado Sinks; Still Set for Best Feb in 6-Y

  • FTSE 100 tracks best Feb performance since 2017
  • Ocado down after reporting worse-than-feared loss
  • St James's Place, Man Group up after posting higher profits
  • British bond yields rise, weigh on stocks
  • FTSE 100 down 0.6%, FTSE 250 off 0.3%

Feb 28 (Reuters) - UK's FTSE 100 index fell on Tuesday, with Ocado sliding to the bottom on a dismal annual loss, although strong gains in asset manager St James's Place following a higher full-year profit limited losses in the benchmark.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 lost 0.6% with shares of Ocado plunging 10.5% on the online supermarket and technology group's worse-than-expected full-year loss.

"Ocado is in the eye of the cost-of-living storm because its offering isn't synonymous with being the best value," said Sophie Lund-Yates, lead equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

Lund-Yates said Ocado is a higher-end option, without the same benefits of enticing people with tangible, physical goods like peer Marks & Spencer.

Meanwhile, British long-dated government bond yields rose to a four-month high, tracking a similar increase in euro zone government bond yields after inflation data from France and Spain boosted expectations of further interest rate hikes.

Despite recent volatility, the exporter-heavy FTSE 100 is on track to record its best February performance since 2017 as higher earnings and weakness in the pound earlier in the month made equities more attractive.

A bunch of Bank of England officials including Deputy Governor Jon Cunliffe, Chief Economist Huw Pill and Monetary Policy Committee member Catherine Mann, are all set to speak later in the day.

St James's Place rose 1.8% after the wealth manager posted an increase in annual profit, underpinned by strong new business flows as clients looked to protect themselves against runaway inflation and geopolitical risks.

The more domestically focussed FTSE 250 midcap index fell 0.3%, weighed down by Travis Perkins as Britain's biggest supplier of building materials fell 3% after posting a 16% fall in its annual profit.

On the flipside, hedge fund firm Man Group gained 7.9% after posting a higher full-year core pretax profit and beating expectations on assets under management.

Reporting by Shashwat Chauhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Shailesh Kuber

Source: Reuters

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