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Mining, Oil Stocks Knock FTSE 100 Lower on China COVID Concerns

  • Unemployment rate falls more than expected
  • BoE expected to raise rates again on Thursday

March 15 (Reuters) - UK's FTSE 100 fell on Tuesday, dragged down by mining and oil stocks as commodity prices retreated on concerns about resurgent COVID-19 cases in China, while strong jobs data supported the case for a Bank of England interest rate hike later this week.

The commodity-heavy FTSE 100 fell 1.4%, while the mid-cap index dropped 1.6%.

UK's oil & gas index slid 2.6% as crude prices tumbled to two-week lows, while industrial miners dropped 4.0%. Most metal prices fell on concerns over the fallout from surging COVID-19 cases in top metals' consumer China.

Meanwhile, official figures showed Britain's unemployment rate dropped below its pre-pandemic rate in the three months to January while pay rose faster than expected. 

"The modest further acceleration in nominal wage growth seen in today's report coupled with lead indicators showing further tightening ahead are likely to provide further justification for the MPC to continue to 'front load' policy tightening," RBC analysts said in a note.

"We look for a further 25bp rate rise at this week's meeting," they added.

Among individual stocks, cigarette maker Imperial Brands slipped 0.4% after saying its exit from Russia would have a small impact on annual profit. 

Events group Informa Plc inched up 0.5% after reporting higher annual profit, as more trade shows and conferences resumed from the pandemic hiatus and its digital business expanded.

TP ICAP the world's biggest inter-dealer broker, fell 9.5% after reporting an 81% profit slump last year.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

Source: Reuters

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