(Reuters) - British shares lagged global markets on Wednesday as fears of damage from Brexit outweighed reports of China being open to a partial trade deal with the United States.
The FTSE 100 .FTSE, whose components make two-thirds of their earnings abroad, added 0.3% but trailed Wall Street and European markets as blue-chip housebuilders and retailers fell.
The FTSE 250 index .FTMC, which has a greater domestic exposure, ended 0.2% lower.
Supermarket chains Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L) and Tesco (TSCO.L) lost 2.2% and 1.1%, respectively, while homebuilder Persimmon (PSN.L) lost nearly 2% as a crucial deadline in the long-drawn out Brexit process looms.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly said that Britain will leave the European Union on Oct. 31 with or without a deal, leaving markets braced for a Brexit showdown.
Among the gainers, London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) (LSE.L) added 3.2% to top the FTSE 100 leader-board, recouping some of the steep losses seen in the last session when Hong Kong Clearing and Exchange (0388.HK) abandoned takeover plans.
Financial sector stocks .FTNMX8350 rose 0.6%. They have fallen 6% since the start of 2019, lagging a near 7% rise in the FTSE 100 over the same period and the only major sector with year-to-date losses.
The recovery comes ahead of the release of minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s last meeting, which could provide further insight on how far it will go to prevent a slowdown.
GVC (GVC.L) outperformed the midcap index with a 5.1% jump as the Ladbrokes owner boosted its annual core earnings target for the second time in three months on robust demand in its betting shops, despite tighter regulation.
That news helped rival William Hill (WMH.L) gain 1%.
For a graphic on UK stocks, click here
Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Alexander Smith