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British bluechips hit by weak oil; Royal Mail offsets mid-cap losses

09/08/2020 | 04:55am

* Britain begins fresh rounds of Brexit trade talks
* Royal Mail marks record daily gain
* Data analytics firm Experian among top boosts to FTSE 100


By Shashank Nayar and Ambar Warrick
Sept 8 (Reuters) - The British blue-chip index ended lower
on Tuesday as weak oil prices hurt major energy stocks, while
losses in the mid-cap index were mitigated by Royal Mail, which
rose after it flagged a boost from e-commerce.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index ended 0.1% down, with
oil major BP Plc weighing the most after crude prices
slid on fears of waning demand.
Data analytics firm Experian was among the top
boosts to the index after it raised its second-quarter revenue
forecast on strength in its U.S. mortgage business.
The domestically inclined mid-cap index fell 0.1% as
losses in consumer discretionary and industrial stocks were
offset by gains in Royal Mail and livestock genetics
firm Genus Plc , which surged more than 10% on
better-than-expected annual earnings.
Royal Mail topped the mid-cap index, marking a record gain
after it said revenues could be much higher than previously
expected if Britain can avoid another nationwide lockdown,
thanks to a surge in online shopping deliveries.
"It seems we became a nation addicted to online shopping
during lockdown with delivery vans accounting for a large amount
of traffic up and down the streets," said Russ Mould, investment
director at AJ Bell, noting that the company had benefited
greatly from the boom in e-commerce.
Meanwhile, divorce talks between Britain and the EU came to
the forefront after Britain threatened to leave the bloc without
an agreement.
Uncertainty over the talks is expected to further pressure
markets that are still reeling from the shock of the coronavirus
pandemic.
In earnings-driven news, Britain's largest sportswear
retailer JD Sports Fashion surged nearly 10% to a more
than six-month high after reinstating its annual outlook.

Travis Perkins , Britain's largest distributor of
building materials, fell 6.6% as its profit sank 81% in the
first half of the year.
Small-scale lender International Personal Finance
plunged 18% after it flagged a risk to its ability to continue
as a going concern.

(Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry
Jacob-Phillips and Lisa Shumaker)



© Reuters 2020
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