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Britain's FTSE inches lower, still on track for 2nd week of gains
December 16, 2016 / 10:28 AM / a year ago

Britain's FTSE inches lower, still on track for 2nd week of gains

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* FTSE 100 index down 0.1 pct

* Micro Focus falls after downgrade

* Miners track weaker metals prices

By Atul Prakash

LONDON, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Britain’s top share index edged down on Friday after hitting a seven-week high the previous day, with IT firm Micro Focus falling after a rating downgrade and Antofagasta tracking weaker industrial metals prices.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 was last down 0.1 percent after climbing on Thursday to 7,010.48 points, its highest level since late October. The index has gained 0.7 percent so far this year, after climbing 3.3 percent last week.

“Appetite above 7,000 appears to be limited,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, analyst at London Capital Group. “Yet the cheaper pound and the recovery in oil prices could give a hand to the bulls and clear the way for a positive close.”

Micro Focus International, the British firm buying Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co’s software business, fell 2.6 percent after UBS cut its rating on the stock to “neutral” from “buy” and lowered its target price to 2350 pence from 2420 pence.

“Notwithstanding H1’s good results and a $400 million planned Return of Value, we see the upside for the shares as limited now. We see several risks in 2017,” UBS analysts said.

“MCRO’s cash flow, meanwhile, is likely to show the effects of significant legal and advisory fees related to the deal ahead of its closing, and restructuring commitments are likely to be a feature thereafter,” they said in a note.

Miners came under pressure after prices of major industrial metals slipped on a stronger dollar, which generally makes commodities costlier for holders of other currencies.

Shares in Antofagasta, BHP Billiton and Anglo American fell 0.7 percent to 1.8 percent, pushing the UK mining index 0.5 percent lower.

Dixons Carphone, Britain’s largest electricals and mobile phone retailer, beat forecasts with a 19 percent rise in first-half profit on Wednesday. But its shares fell 2.5 percent after HSBC cut its target price for the stock to 450 pence from 475 pence. (Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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