Miners, personal goods stocks drag FTSE 100 to two-week low

By Shubham Batra and Khushi Singh

(Reuters) -On its 40th anniversary, the UK’s FTSE 100 on Wednesday hit its lowest in two weeks, weakened by a rise in bond yields and a sell-off in mining and personal goods stocks, while investors awaited minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s December meeting.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index lost 0.5%. The midcap FTSE 250 index was down 1.0%, its biggest one-day decline in over a month.

The yield on the British 10-year benchmark note was up for the fourth session in a row, tracking its U.S. peers.

“The market immediately assumed that more rate cuts were coming now, which doesn’t make sense and as the market prices out some of those additional rate cuts, bond yields start to rise,” said Steve Sosnick, chief strategist at Interactive Brokers.

Heavyweight industrial metal miners slid 2.6%, while precious metal miners were also off 2.7% as a strong U.S. dollar weighed on prices of most metals. [MET/L] [GOL/]

The personal goods index fell 2.8%, with a 3% decline in shares of Burberry, after brokerage Stifel downgraded the luxury retailer to “hold” from “buy”.

By contrast, a jump of over $2 in crude prices lifted oil and gas shares 0.5% higher after reports of a disruption to Libya’s top oilfield added to supply concerns. [O/R]

Industry data showed German-owned discounters Aldi and Lidl, Sainsbury’s and Tesco were the biggest winners among British supermarkets at Christmas.

Shares of Sainsbury’s and Tesco were up 1.5% and 1.6%, respectively, while the broader personal care, drug and grocery stores sector ended the session up 0.8%, after touching a more than two-months high earlier in the day.

GSK Plc added 2.7%, after Jefferies upgraded the drugmaker to “Buy” from “Hold,” and hiked its price target.

The focus now turns to the Fed’s December meeting minutes, due at 1900 GMT, for clues on the timing of potential interest rate cuts by global central banks.

(Reporting by Khushi Singh, Shubham Batra in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich, Dhanya Ann Thoppil and Barbara Lewis)