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* FTSE 100 index closes 0.2 pct lower
* Housebuilders among top fallers
* Randgold rallies after Q4 results
By Atul Prakash and Kit Rees
LONDON, Feb 6 Britain's top equity index ended
slightly lower on Monday after hitting a two-week high earlier
in the session, with a fall in energy and housebuilding stocks
outpacing a rally in shares of precious metals miners.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index closed 0.2 percent
lower at 7,172.15 points after setting an intra-day peak of
7,208.73, the highest level since January 20.
Housebuilders Taylor Wimpey, Barratt Developments
and Persimmon were down 1.6 to 1.7 percent
before the launch of the government's latest attempt to fix a
chronic shortage of new homes..
Housing minister Gavin Barwell said on Sunday the property
market was too dependent on large homebuilders. On Tuesday, the
UK government will publish details of a new strategy, billed as
a major shake-up of the planning and construction system.
"There are concerns that a rise in housing supply following
the government's likely move could hit margins of housebuilders
and force them to slow down the pace of new construction to
maintain a stable supply," said Jawaid Afsar, senior trader at
The market was also hit by a 0.5 percent fall in the UK oil
and gas index after crude prices slipped further as
a stronger dollar and ample U.S. supplies outweighed OPEC output
curbs and rising tensions between the United States and Iran.
Shares in Ryanair fell 0.6 percent after the budget
airline said average fares fell more than expected in the last
three months of 2016 amid a capacity glut in Europe's short-haul
British Airways-owner IAG fell 2.1 percent.
Gold miners provided some support to the market.
Randgold Resources jumped 4.2 percent, the top
gainer in the FTSE 100 index, on stronger gold prices and after
the reporting a 76 percent surge in its fourth-quarter profits.
It said it would increase its annual dividend by 52 percent
"This is an impressive set of figures," Fiona Cincotta,
market analyst at City Index, said in a note.
"Given the heightened uncertainty in the geopolitical arena,
with Trump at the helm, gold could be looking to achieve $1,300
should the safe-haven trade start to replace the Trump trade,
which would serve to boost the miner further."
Fellow precious metals miner Fresnillo gained 1.3
percent after gold climbed to its highest in nearly three months
as worries about the political landscape in the United States
and Europe reinforced investor interest.
(Editing by Larry King)