January 30, 2018 / 10:06 AM / 25 days ago

Britain's FTSE falters as financials, miners fall

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* FTSE 100 down 0.4 pct

* Cyclical stocks weigh

* M&A, earnings in focus among mid caps

By Kit Rees

LONDON, Jan 30 (Reuters) - The UK’s top share index fell on Tuesday as investors took profits on miners and banks, so-called cyclical sectors which have enjoyed a strong start to 2018.

The blue chip FTSE 100 index was down 0.4 percent at 7,641.34 points by 0950 GMT, in line with a broader slide among European markets.

Over the past fortnight the rally that has seen the FTSE 100 hit a series of record highs has sputtered due to the index’s heavy weighting in stocks which are sensitive to the economic cycle, such as financials and commodities.

While these sectors found favour with investors at the beginning of 2018, they have seen a retreat as investors have locked in profits.

“We like this kind of pullback. It’s been on the cards for some time,” said Ken Odeluga, market analyst at City Index.

“With a good ... return so far this month in the bag, it makes a lot of sense to take some money off the table,” Odeluga added.

On the day, financials took more than 15 points off the index, while materials and energy together sliced off around 14 points.

Shares in miner Anglo American were the biggest fallers, down 2.4 percent, while peers Antofagasta, Glencore and BHP Billiton were down between 1.3 percent to 1.7 percent.

Among banks, RBS and Barclays were both down around 2 percent.

More defensive stocks were the biggest risers, with consumer goods group Reckitt Benckiser up 1.3 percent as a weaker pound helped big, international stocks gain ground.

Outside of the blue chips, earnings and deal-making were in focus. Shares in UBM were the top gainers among mid caps, up 3.6 percent after Informa sealed its takeover of the conference organiser. Informa’s shares edged 0.8 percent higher.

Domino’s Pizza rose 2.2 percent, touching their highest level since March 2017 after its fourth quarter sales beat estimates. The pizza delivery firm also said that its annual pretax profit would be slightly ahead of market expectations.

“(Domino‘s) update today shows good progress in Q4,” analysts at Stifel said in a note.

“This demonstrates that Domino’s has regained its growth momentum following difficult trading conditions at the beginning of the year,” Stifel analysts added.

Reporting by Kit Rees; Editing by Keith Weir

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