UK’s FTSE 100 inches lower as industrials dip; healthcare stocks rebound

By Shashwat Chauhan and Shristi Achar A

(Reuters) -Britain’s FTSE 100 edged lower on Tuesday, as weakness in industrial stocks on recessionary worries and financial shares outweighed a rebound in healthcare stocks.

The blue-chip index ended 0.1% lower after a range-bound session, while the midcap FTSE 250 index added 0.1%.

Industrial sectors including construction and aerospace and defence led declines, down nearly 1% each.

“The fears for recession have been increasing after the UK PMI (purchasing managers’ index) numbers and that’s why industrials in general might have been down,” said Anthi Tsouvali, multi-asset strategist at State Street Global Markets.

Data on Monday showed the pace of decline in Britain’s manufacturing sector steepened in June and optimism faded despite weakening price pressures.

UK banks added to the dour mood, down 0.7%, with British finance minister Jeremy Hunt backing financial regulator FCA to ensure banks are passing on better savings rates to consumers.

Industrial metal miners slipped 0.2%, tracking losses in base metal prices as weak economic data from top consumer China stoked demand concerns. [MET/L]

Limiting declines, the pharmaceuticals and biotech sector gained 1.2%, buoyed by a rebound in shares of AstraZeneca. The index fell more than 5% on Monday.

The FTSE 100 is up less than 1% so far for the year on concerns around a global economic slowdown and towering inflation prompting more monetary policy tightening.

Sainsbury’s dropped 1.8% after Britain’s second-largest supermarket group reported quarterly results, with one analyst noting competition woes hurting shares.

The travel and leisure sector that houses major airlines added 0.4% after industry bellwether Ryanair reported record monthly traffic in June.

Helping gains on the sub-index, Wizz Air Holdings advanced 2.4% after the low-cost airline recorded a 22.5% increase in passengers for June.

Dunelm Group lost 4.3% after RBC cut the homeware retailer’s rating to “underperform” from “sector perform”.

Trading in the session was light as most of Wall Street was closed for the Independence Day holiday.

(Reporting by Shashwat Chauhan and Shristi Achar A in Bengaluru; Editing by Eileen Soreng and Mark Potter)