February 5, 2018 / 9:57 AM / a year ago

Broad sell-off sends Britain's FTSE to two-month lows

MILAN/LONDON (Reuters) - The UK’s top share index fell to its lowest level in around two months on Monday as worries over inflation and rising bond yields took their toll on global equity markets and a survey showed Britain’s economy slowed sharply in January.

FILE PHOTO: People walk past the London Stock Exchange Group offices in the City of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

The FTSE .FTSE lost 1.4 percent and is down more than 4.5 percent year to date, partly weighed down by a continued recovery in the pound from post-Brexit lows.

This session was the fifth consecutive day of losses for the index, its longest losing streak since November, in a broad-based sell-off where only a handful of stocks were trading in positive territory.

“Equity nervousness seems to be about repricing for higher yields and tighter Fed policy and the fear that the bond market has broken out of its three-decade bull market,” said Neil Wilson, analyst at ETX Capital in London.

Consumer staple stocks were the biggest weight on the FTSE, taking a combined 27 points or more off the blue chip index.

Among the few stocks which ended the day in positive territory were miners Antofagasta (ANTO.L) Glencore (GLEN.L) and Anglo American (AAL.L), up 1.6 percent, 1.1 percent and 0.3 percent respectively as the sector found support in a rebound in metal prices.

Randgold RRS.L posted the worst performance of the index after it reported 2017 profits and said it would participate in a campaign to overturn a new mining code in Democratic Republic of Congo.

An outperformer was Kingfisher (KGF.L), which rose 2.3 percent to the top of the FTSE.

Traders said the stock was supported by hopes for an easing of competition after rival Wesfarmers (WES.AX) wrote off British hardware chain Homebase for more than its purchase price, saying it had made a series of mistakes

Tesco fell 1.7 percent. Britain’s biggest retailer said profit for the full 2017-18 year would be slightly ahead of analysts’ expectations and confirmed it would pay a final dividend. It also said Booker BOK.L boss Charles Wilson would stay on and run its entire UK business once it completes the 3.7 billion pound takeover of the wholesaler.

Ryanair (RYA.L) fell 1.7 percent. The airline posted a 12 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit but warned of possible further disruption by pilots and said it was not optimistic about average fares in European short-haul in the summer.

Reporting by Danilo Masoni and Julien Ponthus; Editing by Richard Balmforth

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