LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Edges Higher After Rally, But Mining Stocks Hit By Downgrades

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Whitbread shares knocked down on cautious consumer view

Continue Reading Below

U.K. blue-chip stocks on Tuesday clung to small gains after a 2% jump in the previous session, but the rise was limited as mining stocks including Anglo American PLC were hurt after ratings downgrades.

The FTSE 100 trudged up 0.2% to 7,275.35 after opening lower. All but the consumer services and basic materials sector moved higher.

The index on Monday climbed 2.1% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftse-100-leaps-as-markets-take-heart-from-french-election-result-2017-04-24), the largest percentage rise since September, as part of a global rally in equities after centrist Emmanuel Macron's first-round win in France's presidential election prevented two euroskeptics from entering the final runoff. The FTSE 100 did turn positive for 2017 again on Monday.

Miners: But on Tuesday, shares of miners fell following ratings downgrades by Goldman Sachs of Anglo American PLC (AAL.LN) , Antofagasta PLC (ANTO.LN) and BHP Billiton PLC (BLT.LN) (BHP.AU) (BHP.AU) .

Antofagasta and BHP Billiton shares were down 2% and 1.1%, respectively. Those companies were downgraded to sell from neutral. (BLT.LN)Anglo American's rating was pulled down to neutral from buy. Its shares were off 1.9%.

Continue Reading Below

Among other movers in the group, Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS.LN) (RRS.LN) declined 1.1%, Rio Tinto PLC (RIO) (RIO) (RIO) gave up 0.6% and Fresnillo PLC (FRES.LN) shed 0.9%. But Glencore PLC (GLEN.LN) switched up 0.1%.

Meanwhile, Whitbread PLC shares (WTB.LN) dropped 5.9%, on track for their worst session since the Brexit vote in June 2016. The parent company of Costa Coffee and the Premier Inn hotel chains said it foresees a "tougher consumer environment than last year," (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/whitbread-lifts-dividend-as-full-year-profit-rises-2017-04-25) even as its businesses have had a good start for the year.

Whitbread raised its dividend during the fiscal 2017 year, and said fiscal-year pretax profit rose 5.7% to GBP515.4 million.

The cautious tone comes after last week's data showing British retail sales in March dropped (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/uk-retail-sales-fall-sharply-in-march-2017-04-21)by a more-than-expected 1.8% month-over-month, and rose by less than expected year-over-year.

Among advancers, Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC (HIK.LN) (HIK.LN) rose 1.5% to top the FTSE 100. British Gas parent Centrica PLC (CNA.LN) rose 1.1%. Its shares fell 3.5% on Monday after the Conservative government said it plans to cap energy prices if it expands its parliamentary majority in the June general election.

The pound was buying $1.2809 ahead of data on U.K. government borrowing at 9:30 a.m. London time, or 4:30 a.m. Eastern Time. Sterling bought $1.2797 late Monday in New York.

See:4 things investors need to know about France's presidential runoff (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/4-things-investors-need-to-know-about-frances-presidential-runoff-2017-04-23)

And read:Watch for shift from Le Pen--analysts on what's next in French election (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/watch-for-shift-from-le-pen-analysts-on-whats-next-in-french-election-2017-04-24)

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 25, 2017 04:21 ET (08:21 GMT)