February 19, 2019 / 9:05 AM / 4 months ago

Heavyweights HSBC, BHP drag on FTSE 100; Greggs outperforms mid-caps

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* FTSE 100 down 0.4 pct

* FTSE 250 down 0.2 pct

* HSBC, BHP lower as earnings disappoint

* Baker Greggs jumps to life high

Feb 19 (Reuters) - Britain’s main index opened lower on Tuesday, dragged down by disappointing results from blue-chip heavyweights HSBC and BHP, while mid-cap baker Greggs surged after guiding to higher full-year profit.

The FTSE 100 was down 0.4 percent and the FTSE 250 was down 0.2 percent by 0837 GMT, ahead of unemployment rate data.

HSBC was by far the biggest drag on the main bourse, as recent uncertainty around the Sino-U.S. trade situation reflected in the Asia-focussed bank’s disappointing profit growth.

Shares slipped 3.3 percent and the bank warned that weaker economic outlooks for China and Britain would pose more challenges this year, prompting Markets.com analyst Neil Wilson to note that HSBC’s focus on China and Asia was a “double-edged sword”.

Its peer Standard Chartered also dipped 3 percent following HSBC’s downbeat results, making the financial sector the biggest drag on the FTSE 100.

BHP Group fell 1.3 percent after first-half underlying profit at the world’s biggest miner fell 8 percent as copper earnings slumped.

Japanese car maker Honda’s confirmation of its decision to shut its only British car plant did not appear to have affected the wider market but showed the impact of uncertainty over Brexit.

A new round of China-U.S. trade negotiations is expected this week and reports of progress in the talks, despite a lack of clear details, have raised hopes that the countries can reach a compromise by a March 1 deadline.

High street baker Greggs jumped nearly 10 percent to an all-time high on the mid-cap index as sales rose in the first seven weeks of 2019 and it forecast higher full-year underlying pretax profit.

But online trading platform Plus500, which has slumped since last week after a profit warning and a drafting error in its 2017 report, fell for a seventh straight session. The stock was down 8 percent. (Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi and Muvija M in Bengaluru Editing by Peter Graff)

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