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FTSE 100 retreats as stronger pound, virus concerns counter vaccine progress

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* FTSE 100 down 0.5%, FTSE 250 falls 0.3%

Nov 18 (Reuters) - London’s FTSE 100 fell on Wednesday as a stronger pound pressured exporters, while investors contemplated higher inflation and the economic impact from surging coronavirus cases as euphoria over a breakthrough in COVID-19 vaccines dimmed.

The blue-chip index slipped 0.5%, while the domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 lost 0.3%.

Official data showed British inflation picked up by a little more than expected in October to 0.7%, as coronavirus restrictions tightened in much of the country.

Meanwhile, UK on Tuesday reported 598 deaths, its highest figure since May, and a further 20,051 cases, with a media report saying British households will be banned from mixing when the lockdown ends under government’s plans to rescue Christmas.

In company news, RSA Insurance Group jumped 3.8% after it received a cash takeover offer worth 7.2 billion pounds from Canadian insurer Intact Financial and Danish insurer Tryg. (Reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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