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* FTSE 100 down 0.1 pct
* Miners down as metals prices weak
* British mid caps outperform
By Kit Rees
LONDON, Dec 22 (Reuters) - British shares retreated on Thursday, slipping from a 2-month high hit in the previous session as mining stocks tracked copper prices lower.
The blue chip FTSE 100 index was down 0.1 percent at 7,037.27 points by 0948 GMT, in line with a decline in the broader European market. Volumes were thin in the run-up to the festive season.
British mining stocks were the biggest drag, taking around 4 points off the FTSE 100.
Antofagasta, Glencore, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto all fell between 0.9 percent to 1.8 percent after the price of copper hit a 1-month low as China metal imports dropped sharply in November.
China is the world’s biggest consumer of metals.
“Some of the mining stocks, the amount they’ve jumped from the lows this year, they’ve probably out-done the bounce in the metals prices,” Jasper Lawler, senior market analyst at London Capital Group, said.
“(With) people looking ahead to 2017, and (if) metal demand doesn’t recover and supply doesn’t contract as much as thought then probably those mining firms are the most exposed.”
British mid caps stocks, however, outperformed their blue chip peers, with the FTSE 250 index rising 0.4 percent.
Shares in car dealer Inchcape were the top gainer on the index, jumping more than 5 percent to hit a 2-month high after buying a distribution business in South America.
“Inchcape has been active in South America for more than 30 years and the acquisition will bolster its presence in Chile and Peru and add new markets of Colombia and Argentina,” Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said.
“Across these four markets, an expanding middle class, with greater purchasing power and better access to credit, underpins the structural growth opportunity from increasing levels of vehicle ownership.” (Reporting by Kit Rees; Editing by Alison Williams)