Oil stocks drag FTSE lower; M&S hit by job cuts report

Credit: REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

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Financials, consumer discretionary stocks lead declines

European shares slide on EU recovery fund impasse

UK homebuilders supported by report of mini housing boom

FTSE 100 down 0.9%, FTSE 250 off 0.5%

Adds comments; updates prices

July 20 (Reuters) - The FTSE 100 fell on Monday, with energy stocks tracking a decline in oil prices on concerns about the global spike in COVID-19 cases, while Marks and Spencer MKS.L slid after a report that the retailer was planning to cut hundreds of jobs.

Marks and Spencer, one of Britain's best known high-street names, fell 2.2% as Sky News said the company planned to announce the cuts this week, part of a restructuring that could affect several thousand employees in the coming months.

The commodity-heavy blue-chip index .FTSE was down 0.9%, with BP Plc BP.L and Royal Dutch Shell Plc RDSa.L among the biggest drags. The mid-cap FTSE 250 .FTMC shed 0.5%, led by financials, consumer discretionary and real-estate stocks. O/R

Stock markets in Europe also kicked off the week on a glum note with EU leaders still negotiating the terms of a coronavirus recovery fund after three days of haggling over the plan. .EU

"Following the (steep rise) from March lows, markets need another dose of positive news to keep the rally going, but given the many uncertainties ahead, the risks seem tilted to the downside," said Hussein Sayed, market strategist at FXTM.

The FTSE 100 has bounced about 27% following a coronavirus-driven crash in March, but the pace of gains has slowed since June amid fears of a slower-than-expected global economic recovery.

A recent survey showed that nearly half of Britain's biggest companies think they will take until the second half of 2021 before businesses recover from the pandemic.

Later in the day, all eyes are expected to be on early-stage human trial data on a vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca Plc AZN.L and Oxford University. AstraZeneca's shares climbed 5% to a record high ahead of the data.

Homebuilders .FTNMX3720 were among the smallest decliners on the day as a report said a mini housing market boom was gathering pace after a tax cut by finance minister Rishi Sunak.

(Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; Editing by Patrick Graham and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

((Sagarika.Jaisinghani@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 6182 2256;))

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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