UK’s FTSE 100 edges up as consumer staples offset commodity

Pedestrians leave and enter the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain August 15, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall

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  • Real estate stocks under pressure after brokerage downgrades
  • Airline stocks jump on lower oil prices
  • Plus500 gains after upbeat results
  • FTSE 100 rises 0.2%, FTSE 250 up 0.1%

July 12 (Reuters) – UK’s top share index edged up on Tuesday, as gains in defensive sectors outweighed mining and energy stocks pulled down by strict COVID-19 lockdowns in China and prospects of further central bank tightening.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 (.FTSE) ended up 0.2% and the domestically oriented FTSE 250 index (.FTMC) rose 0.1%.

Defensive sectors such as consumer staples that tend to be less sensitive to the economic climate boosted the FTSE 100 index. Unilever (ULVR.L), Reckitt Benckiser (RKT.L) and British American Tobacco (BATS.L) rose near 1% each.

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Capping gains on the resource-heavy FTSE 100, the industrial metals and mining index (.FTNMX551020) and energy index (.FTNMX601010) dropped 0.6% and 1.7%, respectively, as commodity prices slid on the back of a strong U.S. dollar, China’s lockdowns and higher benchmark interest rates globally.

Travel and leisure stocks (.FTNMX405010) gained 1.1%, with British Airways owner IAG (ICAG.L) and Wizz Air (WIZZ.L) rising 6.5%, and 4.6%, respectively.

“We have seen oil fall bit below $100 a barrel and that obviously is good news for airlines because a lot of their costs are taken up by fuel. That is partly what you’re seeing with IAG,” Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said.

“Nervousness that was taking hold on financial markets this morning in terms of concerns about fresh COVID outbreaks in China and falling global growth has eased off a little but investors are still pretty sensitive.”

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Real estate firms Hammerson (HMSO.L), British Land (BLND.L) and Land Securities (LAND.L) fell between 1.8% and 4% after Royal Bank of Canada downgraded their shares, saying higher interest rates, deterioration in credit spreads and recessionary trends put the sector in “uncharted territory”.

Among mid-caps, shares of Plus500 (PLUSP.L) climbed 1.2% after the online trading platform forecast its annual revenue and profit ahead of market expectations, benefiting from a surge in market volatility.

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Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Bansari Mayur Kamdar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips, William Maclean

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