Stocks

Britain's FTSE 100 falls as U.S. uncertainty weighs

(For a live blog on European stocks, type LIVE/ in an Eikonnews window)

* FTSE 100 down 0.7 pct

* FTSE 250 dips 0.5 pct

* International consumer stocks drop

* Mid-cap Playtech falls on profit warning

Dec 24 (Reuters) - UK shares opened lower on Monday, asmultinational stocks tumbled on reports U.S. President DonaldTrump privately discussed firing the head of the Federal Reserveand a partial U.S. government shutdown weighed on investorsentiment.

The FTSE 100 .FTSE was down 0.8 percent and the mid-capindex .FTMC was 0.5 percent lower by 0828 GMT. The bourseswere due to close early ahead of Christmas.

Dragging down the UK's main index .FTSE were companiesthat have a greater international presence, with Imperial BrandsIMB.L dropping over 3 percent and British American TobaccoBATS.L 1.8 percent lower.

DiageoDGE.L , the world's biggest drinks marker, andconsumer goods giant Unilever ULVR.L were down 1.6 percent and0.7 percent, respectively.

All constituents in the consumer sector were in the red inearly deals on the blue-chip index.

WPPWPP.L , the world's largest advertising firm, fellnearly 3 percent to the bottom of the blue-chip index.

Most global markets were hit following reports that Trumpdiscussed firing Fed chair Jerome Powell, a move that wouldlikely further rile financial markets.

That added to pre-existing nerves over political stabilityin the world's largest economy after a partial federalgovernment shutdown as Democrats rejected Trump's demand formore funds for a wall on the border with Mexico.

Among the UK mid-caps, gambling software company PlaytechPTEC.L slid 6.3 percent to its lowest in over six years afterflagging that a change in Italian gambling tax law would hit its2019 core earnings. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nFWN1YQ0Y4

Oil heavyweights Shell RDSa.L and BP BP.L managed to ekeout some gains as crude prices rose on signs the recent priceplunge may start crimping supply from the UnitedStates. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N1YT1B1

Martin Sorrell'sS4 CapitalSFOR.L was flat on its firsttrading day on the London Stock Exchange's main market. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nASP00047L

Muvija.M@thomsonreuters.com muvija.m.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net

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