FTSE 100 falls as energy, banking shares drag

The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London, December 29, 2017. — Reuters pic
The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London, December 29, 2017. — Reuters pic

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LONDON, July 26 — Banks and energy shares dragged London’s FTSE 100 lower today, with worries about rising inflation and a jump in local Covid-19 infections denting sentiment further.

The benchmark FTSE 100 dropped 0.6 per cent, with banks and energy stocks falling the most.

HSBC Holdings and Barclays were among the top drags. They tracked the UK’s benchmark bond yield lower, which fell to its lowest since February.

Miners Antofagasta, Rio Tinto and Anglo American, meanwhile, were among the top gainers on strong base metal prices.

“As investors balance up the pincer like concerns of rising inflation and slowing growth, the benefit of the doubt appears to be leaning towards a slowed recovery, rather than one that has stopped in its tracks,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.

The FTSE 100 has traded in a tight range since April, on concerns around higher local infections and a pullback of pandemic relief measures by the central bank while receiving some support from a set positive corporate earnings outlook.

“The upside is that central banks are unlikely to be in a rush to look at imminently curtailing their bond-buying or asset purchase programs, let alone raising interest rates,” added Hewson.

The domestically focussed mid-cap index eased 0.3 per cent.

Among other stocks, London-listed shares of Ryanair jumped 3.5 per cent after it nudged up its forecast for full-year traffic on strong summer bookings. However, it also said fares remained well below pre-pandemic levels while reporting an after-tax loss of €273 million (RM1.3 billion).

Coast Capital fund demanded the resignation of FirstGroup’s chief executive and two board members, pulling shares down 1.7 per cent in the wake of a contentious asset sale and deepening a rift between the British transport company and its biggest shareholder. — Reuters

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