Trade angst tugs FTSE 100 lower; Ocado outperforms
By Shashwat Awasthi
Nov 29 (Reuters) - London's FTSE 100 slipped for a second straight day on fears that the U.S. ratification of a law backing Hong Kong protesters would dent progress made in trade talks with China, even as Ocado outshone after a partnership with Japan's Aeon.
The main index .FTSE moved further away from a near four-month high it hit earlier this week and gave up 0.5%, as trade-sensitive stocks such as Asia-focussed HSBC HSBA.L and miners .FTNMX1770 weighed.
Bucking the trend, Ocado OCDO.L jumped 11% and was on track for its best day since May 2018, after signing a technology partnership with Japan's biggest supermarket operator, Aeon Co Ltd 8267.T.
The FTSE 250 .FTMC snapped a five-day winning streak as it shed 0.3% by 0838 GMT, but still hovered close to a near 1-1/2 year high. The index is on course for its third straight month of gains and the biggest since January.
St. James's Place SJP.L was the biggest blue-chip loser, falling 5% after Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock and raised concerns about the wealth manager's future dividend growth.
Shares of several domestically focussed firms declined after a survey showed British consumer confidence reeling at its joint-lowest level since November 2013.
Confidence was subdued as uncertainty around the Dec. 12 general election and Brexit still lingers. Housebuilders were the worst hit, Persimmon PSN.L and Berkeley BKGH.L lost 1.5% each, and mid-cap Bellway BWY.L shed 2%.
Trading volumes were once again low with Wall Street set to return to a half-day session after Thanksgiving, and Beijing's warning of counter measures after the Hong Kong legislation was enough for risky assets to fall out of favour.
However, OANDA analyst Jeffrey Halley said, given China's issues around corporate debt and regional bank credit quality, the country could ill-afford to waste any progress made on trade talks.
Among small-caps, Reach RCH.L soared 12%, on course for its best day since August 2015, after the Daily Mirror publisher said it was confident of meeting annual targets.
Redde REDD.L climbed 5.5% higher to 114.6 pence after peer Northgate NTG.L agreed to buy the support services group in a 128.4 pence a share deal. Northgate shares slipped 3%.
(Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)
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