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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 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
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
(Reporting by Kit Rees; Editing by Alison Williams)