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Oil, mining stocks lead losses on FTSE 100
Virgin Money surges on FY profit jump
FTSE 100 down 0.1%, FTSE 250 adds 0.7%
Nov 21 (Reuters) - The export-heavy FTSE 100 slipped on
Monday as commodity stocks fell on concerns about COVID-19 curbs
in top metals consumer China, although losses were limited as a
weaker pound lifted shares of internationally-focused consumer
The blue-chip FTSE 100 closed the session 0.1%
lower, after rising as much as 0.5% during the day.
Energy sector stocks fell 3.3%, while
industrial metal miners shed 2% as oil and copper
prices dipped on worries about slowing demand from the world's
second largest economy.
Further weighing on crude prices was a report which said
that Saudi Arabia and other OPEC oil producers are considering a
half-million barrel daily output increase.
"Markets are really moving into safe havens because of China
COVID curbs. You're seeing healthcare and utilities being up
while the most Chinese sensitive stocks are selling off the
most", Patrick Armstrong, chief investment officer at Plurimi
China is fighting numerous COVID-19 flare ups, from
Zhengzhou in central Henan province to Chongqing in the
Drugmakers AstraZeneca and GSK rose 1.4% and
2.1%, respectively. Unilever, Diageo and
British American Tobacco, with significant dollar
revenues, gained between 1.1% and 1.8% as the pound fell.
Meanwhile, market participants digested a recent set of
hawkish comments from Federal Reserve officials which quashed
hopes of smaller interest rate hikes after soft inflation data
"Markets are just kind of waiting for some fresh checklist
and there isn't really clear direction in terms of what's
happening with the U.S. inflation," said Giles Coghlan, chief
market analyst at HYCM.
Investors were also still assessing British Finance Minister
Jeremy Hunt's budget speech last week when he unveiled higher
taxes and spending curbs in an effort to reassure markets that
the government was serious about fighting inflation.
The domestically focussed FTSE 250 index closed the
session 0.7% higher.
Among individual stocks, Virgin Money jumped 14.9%,
topping the midcaps, after the lender reported a 43% increase in
full-year profit as Bank of England rate hikes lifted its
finances ahead of a likely prolonged economic downturn.
The world's largest contract caterer Compass Group
slipped 1.4% after its underlying operating margin expectations
for full-year 2023 fell short of market expectations.
(Reporting by Shashwat Chauhan and Shristi Achar A in
Bengaluru; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil and Alexander Smith)