October 18, 2019 / 7:45 AM / a month ago

FTSE feels IHG's pain amid caution ahead of Brexit vote

(Reuters) - London-listed stocks ended a mixed week on a cautious note ahead of a make-or-break parliamentary vote on Brexit, while InterContinental Hotels (IHG.L) and oil stocks weighed on the FTSE 100 .FTSE, which closed 0.4% lower.

Traders looks at financial information on computer screens on the IG Index trading floor in London, Britain February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/Files

InterContinental shares fell 4.6% on Friday after the Holiday Inn owner said lower business bookings in China and protests in Hong Kong had caused a drop in revenue.

UK-focussed mid-caps .FTMC outperformed the blue-chip index and the European benchmark , which was dragged lower by a sharp fall in French carmaker Renault.

The FTSE 250’s constituents earn most of their revenue in Britain and the index has risen more than 4% since last week as the prospects of a damaging “no-deal” Brexit have diminished.

“The bullish mood ... on the build up to the (Brexit) deal being brokered and announced, has now been replaced with a more cautious outlook,” CMC Markets’ David Madden said.

Traders eyed a vote on the new Brexit accord between Brussels and London, although analysts warned that progress made so far could be undone if lawmakers vote down the deal.

“It’s a recipe for investors to execute only the most necessary moves in advance, before a possible ‘manic Monday’ in Saturday’s wake,” said City Index analyst Ken Odeluga.

Paul O’Connor, head of the UK-based Multi-Asset Team at Janus Henderson, said markets will be very sensitive to the margin of victory if the deal is approved in Parliament.

“A big Tory win would probably boost UK assets... A narrow Conservative win could unsettle investors,” O’Connor said.

Outperforming the main index were some Brexit-sensitive stocks, including banks such as RBS (RBS.L) and housebuilders .FTNMX3720, which saw volatile trading through the week.

Shares in consumer goods giants Unilever (ULVR.L) and Diageo (DGE.L) lost about 1% each after downbeat earnings and forecast from their respective French peers Danone (DANO.PA) and Remy Cointreau (RCOP.PA) and as sterling held steady.

Cybersecurity firm Avast (AVST.L) shone among mid-caps, jumping nearly 9% after its results.

Elegant Hotels (EHGE.L), which operates hotels and restaurants in Barbados, soared 57% to 110 pence, the price per share offered by Marriott (MAR.O) to buy the AIM-listed company.

Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Bernard Orr and Alexander Smith

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