September 15, 2017 / 8:57 AM / 2 months ago

Britain's FTSE falls to fresh 4-month low as pound advances

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* FTSE 100 down 0.4 pct

* Financials, miners struggle

* Carnival drops after Credit Suisse downgrade

* JD Wetherspoon hits record high after results

By Kit Rees

LONDON, Sept 15 (Reuters) - The UK’s top share index fell to a four-month low on Friday, continuing to feel the pressure from a rise in sterling on its largely dollar-earning constituents with financials and commodities firms the biggest drags.

Britain’s blue chip FTSE 100 index was down 0.5 percent at 7,262.73 points by 0846 GMT, on track to end the week with a second weekly loss in a row.

The FTSE 100 has struggled this week as sterling surged after the Bank of England signalled on Thursday that it was likely to raise interest rates in the coming months, with the currency burning past the $1.34 level.

The rise in the pound put pressure on Britain’s dollar-earning constituents, which have enjoyed an accounting boost as their revenues were converted back to pounds following the currency’s plunge after the Brexit vote last year.

The FTSE 100 ended 2016 with a gain of more than 14 percent, but hasn’t fared as well in 2017, up just 1.9 percent so far this year.

“It’s looking a bit ominous for the FTSE,” said Jasper Lawler, head of research at London Capital Group.

“Given the velocity in the move in the pound, the FTSE can only really go one way and that’s down,” Lawler added.

Financials took the most points off the index, with HSBC , Lloyds and Barclays all down around 1 percent.

Miners and energy stocks also came under pressure after the price of copper edged lower and oil prices slid. Miners Glencore , Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton fell as much as 1 percent, while heavy weight oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell were down around 0.8 percent.

Cruise operator Carnival was the biggest faller, dropping 3 percent following a downgrade from Credit Suisse to “neutral”.

The broker cited an uncertain outlook for Carnival due to the impact of Hurricane Irma on the key Caribbean cruise market as well as further threats to demand in the Mediterranean and China.

Outside of the blue chips, pub group JD Wetherspoon rose 9.5 percent to a record high after reporting a near-28 percent jump in profit.

JD Wetherspoon’s shares have shrugged off any hit from a Brexit-induced slowdown, gaining around 29 percent so far this year and outperforming its peers.

“The results show continued benefit from price increases and consolidating its loyal customer base into fewer sites by disposing of secondary/tertiary locations – the impact of which will fade into 2018,” analysts at Liberum said in a note.

Reporting by Kit Rees; Editing by Keith Weir

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