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LONDON MARKETS : Retailers Help Drive FTSE 100 Toward Biggest Weekly Fall In 2 Months

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11/10/2017 | 10:51 am

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch

Concerns over U.S. tax plan continue to weigh

U.K. stocks slipped Friday, with retailers among those losing ground, as the London gauge of blue-chip stocks moved toward its biggest weekly fall in nearly two months.

What markets are doing: The FTSE 100 index was down 0.1% at 7,478.83, with utilities, industrials, consumer goods and financial sectors on the decline. But the basic materials, technology, and oil and gas groups were rising. On Thursday, the benchmark fell 0.6% .

For the week, the London benchmark was on track for a 1% loss. That would be the biggest weekly decline since mid-September, according to FactSet data.

The pound traded at $1.3140, little changed from $1.3137 late Thursday in New York. Against the euro , sterling bought EUR1.1292, slightly higher than EUR1.1284.

The yield on the 10-year gilt rose 4 basis points to 1.30%.

Retail pain continues: A tough week for retail stocks continued Friday, after the release of research that showed British consumer spending is slowing.

Burberry Group PLC shares (>> Burberry Group) (>> Burberry Group) lost 3%. That drop adds to Thursday's tumble of 10% for the luxury goods maker after it warned that it doesn't expect sales growth until fiscal 2021 . The company also said it will close stores as it sharpens its focus on the high-end market.

Shares of retailer Next PLC (>> Next) and Marks & Spencer Group (>> Marks & Spencer Group) were down 0.9% and 1.2%, respectively. DIY retailer Kingfisher PLC (>> Kingfisher) was off 0.3%.

Kingfisher and M&S shares were looking at weekly losses of more 2% each, and Next was in line for a fall of more than 3%.

What strategists are saying: "The FTSE has struggled in the last couple of days, with a volatile commodity sector and a flagging set of retail stocks dragging the UK index back below 7,500," said Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex.

What's moving markets: Concerns about a possible delay to tax cuts in the U.S. lingered. Those worries helped push equity markets in Asia lower Friday, following a selloff in the U.S. on Thursday.

The Senate Finance Committee on Thursday released its version of a tax plan that would defer implementing a cut in corporate tax to 20% until 2019, diverging from the House Republicans' plan to introduce that rate next year. But jitters abated somewhat after the Republicans' bill was moved to a vote in the House , possibly next week.

The prospect of lower taxes and other stimulus put forward by the Trump administration has bolstered equity markets over the past year.

Stock movers: Mining shares were mostly higher Friday, with Glencore PLC (>> Glencore) and Rio Tinto PLC (>> Rio Tinto plc) (>> Rio Tinto plc) (>> Rio Tinto plc) up by 0.7% each. But Randgold Resources Ltd. (>> Randgold Resources)(>> Randgold Resources) was off 0.4%

Economic reports: A reading on U.K. industrial production in September is due at 9:30 a.m. London time, or 5:30 a.m. Eastern Time. A reading of 1.8% year-over-year is expected by analysts surveyed by FactSet.

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