June 10, 2014 / 11:51 AM / 4 years ago

FTSE retreats, BT slips on rising competition

* FTSE 100 index falls 0.4 percent

* BT falls on Sky’s plan to launch new sports channel

* Growth-sensitive stocks among top decliners

By Atul Prakash

LONDON, June 10 (Reuters) - Britain’s top share index retreated on Tuesday after coming close to a record high in the previous session, with telecom operator BT Group leading the market lower following news of rising competition in the sector.

BT Group, down 2.8 percent, took the most points off the blue-chip FTSE 100 index, after news that Britain’s largest pay-TV company BSkyB will launch a television channel dedicated to European football.

Customers with Sky Sports will be able to receive the new channel, Sky Sports 5, as part of their sports package at no extra cost and can get two years’ free broadband connection, Sky Sports said on its website.

“It’s bad for BT, in terms of potential erosion of current rate of customer acquisition, which had been benefiting from free sports with broadband,” Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, said.

“With Sky now countering this with a free broadband for existing customers, BT may see less Sky customers jumping ship in the 2014/15 season before it begins broadcasting the all-important Champions League in 2015/16.”

Commodity-related stocks including oil firms and miners, combined with financials and telecoms, took 17 points off the blue-chip FTSE 100 index, which was down 25.81 points, or 0.4 percent, at 6,849.19 by 1119 GMT. The index is less than 2 percent off its all-time high, set in December 1999.

The pullback kept the FTSE 100 in the 130 point range it has traded in since the beginning of May, at a time when other indexes including the S&P 500 and Germany’s DAX have pushed on to new all time highs.

Among other fallers, Sports Direct dropped 1.3 percent after Goldman Sachs removed it from its “conviction buy” list, citing its recent strong performance. It has gained 65 percent since last June, but is still about 33 percent below Goldman’s target price of 1,100 pence.

“We remove Sports Direct from our Conviction List as the upside to our target price is now lower following a period of good performance,” analysts at Goldman Sachs wrote.

“We have higher conviction elsewhere in the European retail sector as a result.” (Additionla reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Alison Williams)

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