June 12, 2018 / 9:45 AM / 10 days ago

Housebuilders, miners & oil stocks weigh on FTSE

LONDON (Reuters) - Losses in miners and oil majors sent Britain’s top share index into the red on Tuesday, while housebuilding stocks tumbled after weak results from Crest Nicholson piled extra pressure on a sector already hit by a run of poor economic data.

FILE PHOTO: The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

A summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un had limited impact on UK and European stock markets. The FTSE 100 .FTSE fell 0.4 percent, while the STOXX 600 edged down 0.1 percent.

With a crucial vote on Brexit getting underway in the British parliament, a volatile sterling currency helped rein back the FTSE’s gains.

Miners Anglo American (AAL.L) and Antofagasta (ANTO.L) were among the top fallers, down 3.2 and 2.3 percent as a strong dollar weighed on copper prices.

Oil majors Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) and BP (BP.L) fell 1.4 percent, tracking a decline in Europe’s oil & gas index .SXEP as crude prices flagged, and traders said investors were pocketing profits after a strong run in the sector.

While commodities weighed on the FTSE 100, the biggest moves were in the mid- and small-cap markets.

Crest Nicholson shares (CRST.L) tumbled 4.2 percent, leading the housebuilding sector down. The southern England-focussed housebuilder said its margins had been hit by higher costs and flat house prices, and was moving out of central London.

“Markets were unimpressed with lack of a clear cost control strategy and with UK housing sector on the downturn it is not clear if the outlook for the housebuilder will improve substantially,” said Artjom Hatsaturjants, analyst at Accendo Markets.

Housebuilders fell for a second day, extending their fall on Crest’s pessimistic tone. Data on Monday showing a fall in UK factory output and widening goods trade deficit had dented the shares.

Barratt Development (BDEV.L), Berkeley (BKGH.L), Persimmon (PSN.L) and Taylor Wimpey (TW.L) all fell 2.1 to 3.1 percent, bottom of the FTSE 100, while mid-caps Bellway (BWY.L) and Redrow (RDW.L) fell 3.6 and 4.2 percent.

Domino’s Pizza Group (DOM.L) was another top faller, down 5.8 percent after the company’s chief financial officer departed suddenly, with immediate effect.

Ocado (OCDO.L), which had made gains on Monday after broker upgrades, fell back 3.3 percent after French supermarket chain Carrefour (CARR.PA) upped the ante in the retail sector by signing an online shopping partnership with Google.

Also in disruptive retail, online fashion brand Boohoo (BOOH.L) fell percent despite reporting strong results with revenue growing 53 percent in the three months to May 31.

The stock tumbled 5 percent at the open but ended the day down just 1 percent.

“Investors may be disappointed by the lower than expected growth at the boohoo brand,” said Jefferies analysts. Liberum downgraded the stock, and one trader also said expectations were very high for Boohoo and some profit-taking was likely.

Shares in small-cap Acacia Mining (ACAA.L) fell 3.8 percent after the gold miner reported a fatal accident at its North Mara mine in Tanzania.

Utility Centrica gained 3.7 percent after Jefferies upgraded it to a “buy”.

Meanwhile a downgrade from Numis drove vehicle retailer Motorpoint (MOTR.L) to the bottom of the small-cap index.

(Graphic: FTSE 100 earnings expectations edge higher - reut.rs/2JuKUCq)

Reporting by Helen Reid; Editing by Gareth Jones

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