July 16, 2018 / 4:28 PM / 10 months ago

UPDATE 1-Energy, China data put pressure on Britain's FTSE

* FTSE 100 down 0.8 pct

* China data, trade worries, oil drop weigh

* Downgrade hits Micro Focus

* Indivior soars as court blocks sale of rival drug (Adds details closing prices)

By Kit Rees and Danilo Masoni

LONDON, July 16 (Reuters) - Britain’s top share index retreated on Monday as soft Chinese data hit miners amid persistent worries over global trade.

The blue chip FTSE 100 index fell 0.8 percent, dragged down in afternoon trading by a heavy drop in energy stocks on falling crude prices.

The FTSE hit its lowest level in nearly two weeks, underperforming a slightly lower European market due to its high weighting in commodity stocks.

Mining stocks tend to be sensitive to the underlying price of copper, which fell after the release of data from China showing that the world’s biggest consumer of metals saw its economy expand at a slower pace in the second quarter.

“The concern is that any protracted threats of a trade war or indeed a trade war itself could put those figures at risk further,” said Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets.

“We’re getting used to a Chinese economy growing more slowly because it can’t continue to growth at double digits forever. It’s not a really aggressive start to the week to the downside. There may have been an element of profit-taking into the weekend anyway,” van Dulken added.

Uncertainty over global trade has held back equity markets from making progress over the summer, and investors are now watching to see what China’s response will be to the U.S. threat to impose tariffs on more than $500 billion worth of Chinese goods.

The energy sector was the biggest weight to the FTSE with shares in BP and Royal Dutch Shell both down around 2 percent as oil prices fell sharply as concerns about supply disruptions eased.

Among individual movers, shares in Hargreaves Lansdown fell 1.8 percent after Britain’s markets watchdog proposed measure in the funds platform sector.

A move higher in the pound ahead of a UK parliament debate on Brexit knocked back shares in big, international dollar-earners like British American Tobacco, Diageo and Unilever.

Towards the close of the session, however, the pound erased earlier gains as the debate in parliament revealed dissatisfaction within Prime Minister Theresa May’s party over her plans for Brexit.

Micro Focus was the biggest faller, down 2.9 percent after Credit Suisse cut its rating on the software company to “underperform” from “neutral”.

“Management delivered a poor interim results update, offering limited comfort on the medium-term future,” Credit Suisse’s analysts said in a note.

“We think this creates a difficult equity story,” Credit Suisse added, saying that they increasingly wonder whether Micro Focus is better suited to a private equity environment.

There were some big moves among smaller stocks. Shares in Indivior jumped 16.9 percent after a U.S. court blocked India’s Dr.Reddy’s Laboratories from selling copycat versions of the British drugmaker’s bestselling opioid addiction treatment in the United States. (Reporting by Kit Rees; Editing by Alison Williams)

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