Economic news

UK's FTSE 100 Falters as Financials Weigh

  • ICAG slumps on brokerage downgrade
  • DS Smith falls after reporting profit drop
  • FTSE 100 down 0.3%, FTSE 250 off 0.8%

Dec 7 (Reuters) - The UK's FTSE 100 fell in broad-based declines on Thursday as weak Chinese data took the wind out of China-exposed financials, while a firmer pound also posed a downside to the exporter-heavy index.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 fell 0.3%, while the more domestically-focussed FTSE 250 mid-cap index lost 0.8%.

Customs data from China showed exports grew 0.5% year-on-year in November. Imports fell 0.6%, dashing forecasts for a 3.3% increase and swinging from a 3% jump last month.

Asia-focussed lender HSBC lost 0.7%, while insurer Prudential fell 1.4%.

Luxury retailer Burberry dipped 1.8% as Deutsche Bank reduced its price target on the stock, which dragged the personal goods sector down 1.7%.

"China-sensitive stocks like Burberry and Prudential are also trading near the bottom of the UK blue chip index after key China trade data pointed to weak domestic demand from the world's second largest economy," said Victoria Scholar, head of investment at interactive investor.

In contrast, defensive sectors such as utilities and beverages gained 0.6% and 0.1%, respectively.

The pound was marginally higher against the dollar after falling in the last three sessions. British government bond yields were also elevated, in line with their global counterparts.

Meanwhile, mortgage lender Halifax said British house prices rose 0.5% in November, their second monthly rise in a row.

Investor focus now shifts to the U.S. weekly jobless claims data, due later in the day, ahead of the more comprehensive November non-farm payroll report, expected on Friday.

Among individual stocks, DS Smith fell 0.8% after the cardboard maker said CEO Miles Roberts will retire and recorded a 15% slump in its half-year profit before tax.

International Consolidated Airlines Group (ICAG) dipped 3.5% after J.P. Morgan downgraded the British Airways owner's stock to "underweight" from "neutral".

Reporting by Shashwat Chauhan in Bengaluru; editing by Eileen Soreng and Sonia Cheema

Source: Reuters

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