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FTSE 100 Weighed Down by Weakness in Banks; Ocado Top Gainer

* Ocado jumps on new customer win in Spain

* Sainsbury’s gains on beating sales expectations

* Private equity firm Bridgepoint to list on LSE

* FTSE 100 down 0.1%, FTSE 250 drops 0.2% (Updates prices, adds comment)

July 6 (Reuters) - London’s FTSE 100 inched lower on Tuesday as losses in heavyweight financials outweighed gains in energy and mining stocks, while Ocado was the top gainer on the blue-chip index after signing a new agreement for its software business.

British online grocer and technology group Ocado jumped 3.6% after it said it had signed a new agreement with Auchan Retail to use its technology to develop Alcampo’s online business in Spain.

The FTSE 100 dropped 0.1%, dragged down by a 0.7% fall in major banking stocks. Limiting the index’s fall, heavyweight energy majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell and miner BHP Group advanced.

Britain’s 2 trillion-pound ($2.8 trillion) debt mountain is becoming more exposed to inflation and interest rate shocks which are themselves becoming more frequent, Richard Hughes, chairman of the country’s budget watchdog, said.

The domestically focussed mid-cap index slipped 0.2%.

“It is the international fund money that is driving markets and that has slowed down a little which is why we are seeing quieter markets,” said Keith Temperton, a sales trader at Forte Securities.

The FTSE 100 has gained nearly 10.8% so far this year on government stimulus support and record low interest rates but has largely underperformed its European and domestic mid-cap peers and continues to be one of the lowest valued markets.

“The FTSE 100 is one of the cheapest markets out there and while we are in a bit of a slow period, British blue-chips are set to gain in the near- to medium-term due to their cheap valuations,” said Temperton.

Among stocks, British supermarket group Sainsbury’s rose 0.4% after it beat expectations for first-quarter sales though growth slowed sharply.

Private equity firm Bridgepoint said it would list on the London Stock Exchange to raise 300 million pounds ($417 million) to support its growth plans as the sector revs up.

Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

Source: Reuters

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