Economic news

FTSE 100 Muted after Strong Inflation; Midcaps Buoyed by Indivior

  • Rising prices likely to dent spending- analyst
  • Russia-Ukraine tensions ease, but still in focus
  • Indivior headed for best day in a year

Feb 16 (Reuters) - The FTSE 100 was flat on Wednesday as gains in commodity stocks were offset by losses in retailers following a spike in January inflation, while pharmaceutical firm Indivior lifted the midcap index with its plans for a U.S. listing.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index kept to a tight range in morning trade, with major oil and mining stocks among the top boosts after easing Russia-Ukraine tensions helped commodity prices.

Data showed inflation hit a near 30-year high in January, supporting bets on a further rate rise to 0.75% or 1% by the Bank of England in March. 

Consumer discretionary stocks were the biggest drag on the FTSE 100, as analysts flagged more headwinds to spending from rising prices.

"Just how long shoppers will keep splashing the cash will be an increasing cause for concern for retailers especially with the one-two punch of another interest rate rise in March, and energy bills being hiked dramatically in April," said Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

The pound also rose after the data, which is likely to weigh on export-oriented sectors.

"Inflation has inched up again, but hostilities over Ukraine seem to be ticking down and investors are seeking solace that for now there are no big shocks to the system," Streeter said.

UK stocks had rallied on Tuesday amid reports of some troop withdrawals by Russia from near the Ukraine border. But the reports were regarded with some scepticism by western leaders. 

The benchmark midcap index rose 0.2%, with Indivior the top boost, up 11.8%.

The opioid addiction treatment maker was headed for its best day in a year after it said it was exploring a secondary listing in the United States, its biggest market, following a rise in annual sales. 

Reporting by Ambar Warrick; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

Source: Reuters

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