LONDON, June 10 ― British shares ended lower yesterday after broadly underperforming their European peers, dragged down by heavyweight financial and mining stocks in a thin trading session before a key European Central Bank meeting and US inflation numbers.
The blue-chip index fell 0.2 per cent, with home-builder stocks and life insurers leading declines.
Banks gave up -1.6 per cent, with HSBC Holdings being the top drag, down 1.4 per cent, after Moody's downgraded its senior insecured debt rating to A3 from A2.
The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index declined -0.6 per cent to a nearly two-week low over risks arising from a small jump in Covid-19 cases and the lack of a breakthrough in post-Brexit talks with the European Union.
World stocks hovered near record highs and US bond yields fell, boosting the appeal of technology stocks as future inflation pressures ease.
“With uncertainty ahead of tomorrow’s ECB rate meeting, investors appear to be keeping their powder dry ahead of the announcement and the May CPI numbers from the US,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.
After breaking above the 7,000 mark in mid-April, the FTSE 100 index has oscillated in a narrow range on worries that rapid economic growth could lead to higher inflation and faster tightening of ultra-loose monetary policies.
Among stocks, Smith+Nephew jumped 2.3 per cent and was among the top performers in the FTSE 100 index, after Credit Suisse upgraded the medical products maker's stock to “outperform” from “neutral”.
Clinigen Group slumped -26.4 per cent as RBC cut its price target on the stock after the pharmaceutical company forecast annual adjusted EBITDA within the range of £114 million (RM662 million) and £117 million, lower than market expectations.
Upper Crust owner SSP Group dropped -1.9 per cent after it reported a first-half loss of £182 million.
Wizz Air ended 3.3 per cent higher. It is likely to fly more this summer than it did pre-pandemic, its chief executive said, as European Covid-19 travel restrictions loosen. ― Reuters