* FTSE 100 down 32.38 points at 6,665.63
* Vodafone knocks 8 points off FTSE after trading ex-div
* ITV dips following BofA ML downgrade
* Aberdeen Asset MGT, easyJet boosted by upgrades
* BSkyB buoyed by expectations of sports deal with BT
By David Brett
LONDON, Nov 20 Britain's top share index fell on
Wednesday as blue-chip stocks like Vodafone traded ex-dividend
and impending U.S. economic data made investors wary.
By 1133 GMT, the FTSE 100 was down 32.38 points, or
0.5 percent, at 6,665.63. Vodafone, Britain's third-
largest listed company by market capitalisation, accounted for a
quarter of the decline.
Carnival, Next, Sainsbury and Tate
& Lyle traded ex-dividend on Wednesday as well.
Traders also said investors were getting twitchy before data
due out at 1330 GMT in the United States.
"Clients are a little cautious ahead of retail sales from
the U.S., and it feels like the end-of-year slowdown is taking
place earlier than expected," said Matt Brown, a trader at IG.
ITV was among the worst-performing FTSE 100 stocks, falling
1.3 percent. Traders said the decline came after Bank of America
Merrill Lynch downgraded the free-to-air broadcaster to
"neutral" from "buy".
Ratings also dictated direction for some of the top risers
on the FTSE 100.
Fund firm Aberdeen Asset Management added 2.3
percent, topping the list of FTSE 100 risers, after BofA ML
raised its recommendation on the company to "neutral" from
EasyJet extended recent gains, climbing 1.5 percent,
as HSBC upgraded the low-cost airline to "neutral" from
"underweight" following results on Tuesday.
BSkyB rallied 1.4 percent after the pay-TV service
said it wanted to make a deal with BT so each could offer
its customers a full range of live sports. BSkyB
slumped earlier this month after BT outbid it for exclusive
rights to Champions League football.
The FTSE 100 remains up by around 13 percent since the start
of 2013 but has slipped back from late-October highs of around
6,819. Investors are trimming equity holdings to book profits on
Traders remain bullish on the FTSE 100 for December, arguing
that signs of an economic recovery in the UK would continue to
support the stock market.
"I am still expecting a slow grind up towards Christmas,"
said Hartmann Capital trader Basil Petrides.
JNF Capital trader Rick Jones said he thought the FTSE 100
was still on track to end 2013 around 6,900 to 7,000.