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Worst day in over a month for FTSE 100; retail sales data disappoints

4 minute read

People walk past the London Stock Exchange Group offices in the City of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File photo

  • UK retail sales fall 1.4% in May as consumers dine out
  • Tesco down as sale growth slowed in first quarter
  • FTSE 100 down 1.9%, FTSE 250 off 1%

June 18 (Reuters) - London's FTSE 100 index marked its worst session in over a month on Friday, dragged by weakness in financial and commodities-linked stocks, while data showed retail sales fell in May as Britons dined out more following a lifting of pandemic restrictions.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 (.FTSE) ended 2.0% down and shed 1.7% this week, snapping a win streak of three consecutive weeks in gains. Banking (.FTNMX301010) and life insurance (.FTNMX303010) stocks, down 2.7% and 2.5% respectively, were among the top drags.

Base and precious metal miners (.FTNMX551020), (.FTNMX551030) slid 2.4% and 0.2% respectively, as commodity prices fell, especially with copper on track for its biggest weekly fall since March 2020.

Meanwhile, oil majors BP (BP.L) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) fell 2.7% and 3.1% respectively, tracking weaker crude.

British retail sales fell unexpectedly by 1.4% last month as a lifting of lockdown restrictions encouraged spending in restaurants rather than shops, with food stores suffering the biggest hit. read more

Britain's biggest retailer Tesco (TSCO.L) also reported a sharp slowdown in underlying UK sales growth in its first quarter, sending its shares down 4.1%. read more

"When the UK government sort of became shifty on its tactics on easing lockdowns, especially on the travel side, it made people less sure of what's going on and they've just kept their hands in their pockets and not been spending so much," said Keith Temperton, equity sales trader at Forte Securities.

After the U.S. Federal Reserve's hawkish turn this week, all eyes are now on the Bank of England's meeting next week where it is expected to look through the temporary rise in inflation. read more

"Inflation is rising and unemployment is falling, but the Bank of England isn't going to do anything about raising interest rates until it's sure these aren't just transitory factors emanating from an economy that's gone from red to green," said Laith Khalaf, financial analyst at AJ Bell, in a note.

The domestically focused mid-cap index (.FTMC) fell 1% dragged by retailers, industrials and financial stocks.

Among individual stocks, While Kin and Carta (KCT.L) rose 6.6% after Dutch insurer Aegon NV (AEGN.AS) disclosed a 5.24% stake in the digital transformation services company.

Reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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