(Reuters) - The FTSE 100 slipped from three-week highs on Thursday as apprehension over the local job market and a drop in China’s retail sales chipped away at hopes for a swift economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Data showed Chinese retail sales were down 1.8% last month despite a pickup in second-quarter economic growth, pointing to a weakened consumer story in the world’s second largest economy.
Ladbrokes owner GVC Holdings GVC.L was among the worst performers on the FTSE 100 after it said long-time Chief Executive Kenny Alexander was retiring.
Recruiter Hays HAYS.L slipped 1.3% as it warned of lower annual profits amid a slump in fee income. While data showed some improvement in the British job market last month, analysts posited a grim outlook due to the pandemic.
“Nearly all of Hays’ territories have seen net fee income drop in the order of 30% bar the US, which is a little better, and the UK and Ireland, which are markedly worse,” Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell wrote in a note to clients.
“This is not an encouraging portent for a brewing unemployment crisis in Britain – even if there were some modestly more encouraging signs in the latest jobs data.”
In other earnings news, Anglo American AAL.L shed 1.2% after posting an 18% decline in overall second-quarter output. Global miner Rio Tinto RIO.L traded flat ahead of its quarterly production results on Friday.
Power generator SSE Plc SSE.L bucked the trend, closing more than 2% higher after it said it will maintain its dividend schedule despite the coronavirus.
A raft of global stimulus moves helped the FTSE 100 rally about 27% from its March lows, but it is still down about 17% on the year and has trailed its European and Wall Street peers as economic data points to a slower-than-expected rebound from the pandemic
Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Frances Kerry
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