* FTSE 100 down 0.5 pct
* Blue chips seal biggest monthly loss since November
* Barclays drops after Q1 results
* Profit beat drives RBS to top of FTSE
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By Kit Rees and Helen Reid
LONDON, April 28 Britain's top share index
dipped on Friday as disappointing results weighed on banking
heavyweight Barclays, with UK blue chips sealing their
biggest one-month fall since November 2016.
The FTSE 100 index closed 0.5 percent lower at
7,203.94 points, underperforming broader European markets, and
posted a 1.6 percent fall for the month.
The large-caps struggled in April after British Prime
Minister Theresa May called a snap general election which has
boosted sterling to a seven-month high.
Coupled with uncertainty around Brexit negotiations, a
stronger currency has weighed on the index's dollar-earning
firms, which enjoyed an accounting boost after sterling's 11
percent plunge in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote.
However, Bank of America Merrill Lynch strategists said they
saw the pound playing less of a role for UK equities in the next
"Relying on FX is likely a red herring," they said, adding
any rallies in the pound may not be sustained long-term as the
currency adapts to softer economic fundamentals.
The UK's GDP reading for the first quarter came in weaker
than expected earlier on Friday, as a rise in inflation hit
consumer-facing businesses, with the economy slowing sharply.
On the day, bank earnings were in focus.
Barclays fell 5.2 percent, its biggest one-day loss
since the aftermath of Britain's referendum vote to leave the
European Union last June.
While Barclays' first quarter profit more than doubled, a
weak performance at its investment banking arm disappointed as
the bank missed out on a bond trading boom which boosted
revenues at its U.S. peers.
"Taking a bit of a longer-term view, Barclays is still in a
state of recovery and is moving towards its goal of being a UK
retail bank and a transatlantic corporate bank, but this
particular quarter I think the results were a bit disappointing
compared to what analysts were expecting," Laith Khalaf, senior
analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said.
Barclays results contrasted with well-received updates from
peers Lloyds and RBS.
The Scottish bank gained 4.7 percent after it swung to its
first quarterly profit since September 2015, beating average
forecasts in a sign of progress in its turbulent turnaround.
"While the group continues to make progress at an underlying
level, there remain a number of significant legacy issues that
continue to overhang the investment case," said Shore Capital
analyst Gary Greenwood.
Shares in Mediclinic dropped 4.4 percent, pulling
back after a 17.5 percent jump in the previous session after Abu
Dhabi cancelled a 20 percent co-payment requirement for
treatment at private healthcare facilities.
Miners were among the top gainers, with Antofagasta
, Anglo American and Randgold Resources
all up between 1.6 percent and 2.4 percent as the price of
copper edged higher.
(Reporting by Kit Rees, Helen Reid; Editing by Toby Chopra)