Stocks

FTSE 100 lower as weak dollar hits exporters but Reckitt shines after results

Reuters

Feb 18 () - Britain's blue-chip index inched lower and off its four-month high, as a weaker dollar weighed on exporter stocks while consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser jumped after forecast-beating sales growth.

The FTSE 100 index and the midcap bourse were 0.2 percent lower by 0834 GMT.

The dollar weakened as investors took to risky assets on optimism surrounding the Sino-U.S. trade situation, with another

But that dragged down the multinational stocks such as Diageo, British American Tobacco and GlaxoSmithKline on the main London bourse, which earns 70 percent of its income abroad.

Reckitt was a ray of sunshine, rising 3 percent as its fourth-quarter sales growth topped estimates.

"These results look strong enough to support the shares and keep the bulls onside," Jefferies analysts wrote.

British Gas owner Centrica dipped 2 percent to be the worst blue-chip faller after broker Berenberg downgraded to "Hold".

Small caps outperformed the main UK indexes thanks to strong rises in McColl's and Petra Diamonds.

Convenience retailer McColl's shares jumped 10.7 percent after saying it was on course for higher like-for-like sales in the first quarter and Petra Diamonds added 8.4 percent after naming a new CEO.

On the midcap index, online trading platform Plus500 fell 4.4 percent after it confirmed late on Friday that it failed to disclose certain losses from customer trading due to a drafting error in its 2017 report.

Plus500 lost nearly half its value last week after a profit warning and a Times newspaper report of the accounting lag.

AIM-listed Footasylum surged over 40 percent to its highest since early September after JD Sports bought an 8.3 percent stake and said it was prepared to increase its holding up to 29.9 percent.


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Reuters

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