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* FTSE 100 down 0.5%, FTSE 250 adds 0.1%

* PageGroup's quarterly profit slumps, shares down

* Ashmore's shares fall on worse than expected outflows

* Inchcape rises on $431 mln sale of UK retail operations

April 15 (Reuters) - The UK's FTSE 100 moved lower on Monday as escalating tensions in the Middle East caused market participants to tread cautiously, while a string of corporate updates also influenced market action.

As of 8:31 GMT, the resource-rich FTSE 100 had declined by 0.5% from Friday's near record-high levels. The FTSE 250 index, hovering near the 20,000 mark, was up 0.1%.

Precious metal miners led sectoral losses, sliding 2.9%, while heavyweight oil and gas shares dipped 2%, tracking lower crude prices as market participants dialled back risk premiums amid news of escalating tensions in the Middle East and fears of a wider regional conflict.

"Markets are going to find it hard to price in an escalation (in the Middle-East) because in reality, markets are not really good at pricing extreme events," Hussain Mehdi, macro and investment strategist at HSBC Asset Management said.

On the data front, figures on U.S. retail sales for March are due Monday, while British consumer prices and retail sales data for the month of March are due later in the week.

Investors will also be looking for further clues this week from Federal Reserve speakers, including Chair Jerome Powell on Tuesday, after higher-than-expected U.S. inflation for three successive months has caused a rapid reining-in of bets on interest rate cuts this year.

In corporate updates, shares in PageGroup shed 4.8% after the staffing company reported a nearly 13% fall in first-quarter group gross profit, reflecting slow hiring in major markets.

Ashmore lost 2.8% after the fund manager said its assets under management dropped in the first quarter, as choppy markets kept investor appetite for risk assets subdued.

On the contrary, Inchcape jumped 4.2% after Group 1 Automotive UK agreed to acquire its U.K. dealerships for 346 million pounds ($431.43 million) in cash.

Mitie Group shares led gains on the FTSE 250, climbing 7.3% as the outsourcer announced a share buyback programme. (Reporting by Pranav Kashyap, Khushi Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Mrigank Dhaniwala)