Ex-div trading, miners weaken FTSE 100; Saga takes down midcaps

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* FTSE 100 loses 0.2 pct, FTSE 250 falls 0.3 pct

* Saga slumps on dividend cut, profit warning

* Weak copper prices hurt miners

* Ex-dividend trading hits Lloyds, Direct Line

* AO World, Mothercare down on earnings updates (Adds company news items, updates to closing prices)

By Muvija M and Yadarisa Shabong

April 4 (Reuters) - A five-day rally for Britain's mainshare index ended on Thursday when financial heavyweights slidon ex-dividend trading and miners weakened, while a profit alertsank tourism and insurance group Saga on the midcap index.

The FTSE 100 .FTSE dipped 0.2 percent, well off asix-month high it held in the last two sessions, while themidcaps .FTMC lost 0.3 percent.

On the Brexit front, a debate is ongoing at the House OfLords after a law was narrowly passed in the lower house ofparliament to seek a second delay to the exit date to prevent apotentially disorderly no-deal departure on April 12.

However, the pound, which initially cheered on the news,took a turn for the worse as concerns mounted that the UK may beheaded for a long delay, which could lead to more uncertainty.

Highlighting the brunt of the Brexit-related hit tofinancial markets, Britain has lost 6.6 billion pounds ineconomic activity every quarter since it voted to leave the EU,according to S&P Global Ratings.

The main index was weighed down by steep losses infinancials Lloyds LLOY.L , Direct Line DLGD.L and St James'sPlace SJP.L , which traded ex-dividend.

Software company Micro FocusMCRO.L fell 6 percent to itsworst day in 10 months after a Citigroup downgrade, while miners .FTNMX1770 dropped 1.2 percent as copper prices fell on demandconcerns following weak German factory data.

Europe's largest economy showed industrial orders falling attheir steepest rate in more than two years in February, hit by aslump in foreign demand.

CMC Markets' analyst David Madden said it seemed likeinvestors were booking profits as the markets have seen a strongweek so far on easing fears over a no-deal Brexit and growinghopes of a resolution to the Sino-U.S. trade dispute.

"It's not really a surprise that the market has pulled backever so slightly today."

Nearly half of the FTSE 250's fall on the day wascontributed by Saga SAGAG.L , the over-50s tourism andinsurance specialist which tanked after it warned on profit andslashed its dividend amid a highly competitive motor and homeinsurance market.

"(This is a) kitchen sink job, it looks nasty," one tradersaid of Saga, whose shares were last down 37 percent at theirlowest ever.

Entertainment OneETO.L , maker of children's TV show PeppaPig, outperformed with a 3.5 percent gain after reporting higherunderlying core profit at its music division.

But small-cap online electricals retailer AO WorldAO.L slid 6 percent after forecasting adjusted core earnings for theyear at the lower end of market view.

Baby products seller MothercareMTC.L slumped 7 percentafter it flagged challenging market conditions and reported afall in UK like-for-like sales.

((For related prices, Reuters users may click on - * UK stock report .L FTSE index: 0#.FTS6 techMARK 100 index: .FTT1X FTSE futures: 0#FFI: Gilt futures: 0#FLG: Smallcap index: .FTSC FTSE 250 index: .FTMC FTSE 350 index: .FTLC Market digest: .AD.L Top 10 by vol: .AV.L Top price gainers: .NG.L Top % gainers: .PG.L Top price losers: .NL.L Top % losers: .PL.L

* For related news, click on - * UK hot stocks: [HOT and GB] Wall Street: .N Gilts report: GB/ Euro bond report GVD/EUR Pan European stock report: .EUTokyo stocks: .T HK stocks: .HK Sterling report: GBP/ Dollar report: USD/

* For company prices, click on - * Company directory: UKEQ By sector: FTAX

* For pan-European market data, click on - * European Equities speed guide................ EUR/EQUITY FTSE Eurotop 300 index........................... .FTEU3 DJ STOXX index................................... .STOXX Top 10 STOXX sectors........................ .PGL.STOXXS Top 10 EUROSTOXX sectors................... .PGL.STOXXES Top 10 Eurotop 300 sectors.................. .PGL.FTEU3S Top 25 European pct gainers.................... .PG.PEUR Top 25 European pct losers..................... .PL.PEUR ))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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