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* FTSE 100 down 0.1 pct
* Mining stocks weigh
* Precious metals outperform
* Upgrades buoy grocers
By Kit Rees
LONDON, April 7 Britain's top share index
slipped on Friday as mining stocks dropped, in line with a
broader risk-off move across markets after a U.S. cruise missile
strike in Syria.
The blue chip FTSE 100 index was down 0.1 percent at
7,295.17 points by 0904 GMT, set for its third week of losses in
a row, its longest losing streak since the first three weeks of
June 2016 in the run-up to the UK's Brexit referendum.
“At the moment it’s really a question of whether or not
Trump can deliver on his fiscal plans,” Michael Hewson, chief
market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said.
“He’ll probably be able to deliver something, but I don’t
think he’ll be able to deliver what’s been priced in, and I
think we are ripe for a little bit of a correction."
Mining firms were the biggest fallers as the price of copper
dropped, with Anglo American, Rio Tinto, BHP
Billiton, Glencore and Antofagasta all
down between 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent.
Precious metals miners rose, however, as investors fled to
safe-haven assets such as gold, the underlying commodity, after
the U.S. fired dozens of cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase
from which it said a deadly chemical weapons attack was launched
Shares in Randgold Resources were the top gainers,
rising 2.2 percent, and silver and gold miner Fresnillo
gained 1 percent.
Broker activity also drove the action on the single stock
level, with shares in Wolseley down 1.2 percent after
HSBC cut its rating to "hold" on the heating and plumbing
"We believe the business is reasonably fully valued. There
are, perhaps, other inflation plays in the sector with more
upside for those who want it," analysts at HSBC said in a note.
ITV was another faller, down 1.1 percent after JP
Morgan cut its rating on the stock to "neutral" from
"overweight", citing further weakness in UK advertising trends.
UK supermarkets were a bright spot, as Tesco and
Sainsbury both advanced around 1.5 percent after UBS
began its coverage of both stocks with a "buy" rating.
UBS was less positive on online grocer Ocado, which
dropped 4.6 percent after UBS cut it to "sell".
"We believe the market is moving against Ocado," analysts at
UBS said in a note, citing growth rates slowing in online
grocery and challenges from an inflationary environment.
Overall, the FTSE 250 traded up 0.1 percent, with
shares in Hunting and Aberdeen Asset Management
gaining 3.7 percent and 2.9 percent respectively.
(Reporting by Kit Rees; Editing by Toby Davis)