Economic news

Risk-off Sentiment Hits UK Stocks, BP Slides on Russia Exit

  • BP down on plans to sell its stake in Rosneft
  • GSK halts respiratory virus vaccine trials on pregnant women; shares down
  • Russia-exposed miners plummet
  • FTSE 100 down 1.4%, FTSE 250 off 0.8%

Feb 28 (Reuters) - UK stocks dropped on Monday after Western nations imposed tough new sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, while oil major BP slid following its decision to exit the country by abandoning its stake in Russian oil giant Rosneft.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 fell 1.4%, led by banks and insurers down 4.5% and 4.2%, respectively.

BP fell 6.8% after deciding to exit its nearly 20% stake in Russian oil giant Rosneft after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

"It's an expensive cut and also takes a big chunk of BP's potential future oil revenue, so that's not a great news," said said Keith Temperton, a sales trader at Forte Securities.

"Overall it's negative, but in the medium-to-long term, I guess they had taken a bit of an overhang away from the risk going forward."

Oil prices jumped nearly 4%, while Russia's rouble plunged nearly 30% to a record low, after Western nations imposed sanctions including blocking big Russian banks from the SWIFT global payments system. 

Losses on the FTSE 100 were smaller than its European peers, aided by gains in defence players BAE Systems, jumping over 14% and base metal miners up 1.0% tracking a surge in London aluminium and nickel prices. 

The FTSE 100 has outperformed its pan-European peers so far this year, helped by a jump in heavyweight commodity stocks due to geopolitical tensions.

Russia-exposed miners including Polymetal, EVRAZ and Petropavlovsk declined between 10.5% and 36.7%.

The domestically focussed mid-cap index fell 0.8%.

Associated British Foods fell 3.5%, even as it forecasted first-half sales and adjusted operating profit "strongly ahead" of the previous year and ahead of pre-COVID 19 levels.

GSK slipped 1.2%, after the drugmaker said it had halted enrolment and vaccination in three trials evaluating its vaccine candidate against the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in pregnant women. 

Reporting by Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich

Source: Reuters

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