Miners fall after downbeat China trade figures
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U.K. stocks darted between small gains and losses Monday, even as mining shares lost ground, as European equities took a breather after French voters elected market-friendly centrist Emmanuel Macron as their next president.
The FTSE 100 index was up 0.1% at 7,304.01 after dipping in and out of negative territory. The basic materials and industrial groups were lower, but the utility, oil and gas and financial sectors moved higher.
The London benchmark finished last week up by 1.3%. It gained 0.7% on Friday, rising alongside European equities , which closed at a 21-month high.
But on Monday continental markets, including France's CAC 40 , were modestly lower. The moves came after Macron, as widely expected, defeated far-right euroskeptic Marine Le Pen to win the French presidential election (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/macron-handily-wins-french-presidential-electionan-upbeat-outcome-for-wall-street-2017-05-07).
"Much was priced into markets before the event, but we remain positive on a medium-term view," wrote Jaisal Pastakia, investment manager at Heartwood Investment Management, in an note.
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Read:Investors are breathing a sigh of relief over France, for now (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/investors-are-breathing-a-sigh-of-relief-over-france-for-now-2017-05-07)
"Of course, questions remain around what Macron can actually achieve over the longer term. A lot will depend on the outcome of the parliamentary elections in June and the mandate he can secure. The risk is France gets a fragmented parliament," Pastsakia added.
The French parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held on June 11 and 18.
See:Macron the Redeemer's toughest task -- keep the EU from collapsing (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/macron-the-redeemers-toughest-task-keep-the-european-union-from-collapsing-2017-05-07)
Miners slide: A disappointing trade update from China (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/china-trade-surplus-widens-as-momentum-slips-2017-05-08) weighed on London-listed mining shares. The sector is sensitive to economic data from China, which is a major buyer of industrial and precious metals.
Chinese exports in April rose 8%, short of the 10% increase expected by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal. Imports climbed 11.9%, also below forecasts, after a 20.3% rise in March. China's trade surplus increased to $38.05 billion, from $23.93 billion the previous month.
In the mining group, shares of Anglo American PLC (AAL.LN) fell 2.3%, Rio Tinto PLC (RIO) (RIO) (RIO) declined 2.1%, and Fresnillo PLC (FRES.LN) pulled back by 2%.
Stock movers: Centrica PLC (CNA.LN) was off 0.6% as the British Gas parent said it will report 2017 results in line with its previous guidance (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/centrica-backs-2017-guidance-including-job-cuts-2017-05-08), including further 250 million pounds ($313.8 million) of cost-savings and cuts of 1,500 jobs.
Advancers on the FTSE 100 included real estate investment trusts Land Securities PLC (LAND.LN) and Intu Properties PLC (INTU.LN) , up 2.1% and 1.6%, respectively.
The pound was buying $1.2977, down slightly from $1.2981 late Friday in New York. Sterling is approaching $1.30, where it hasn't traded since September, according to FactSet data.
The euro was off 0.4% against the pound, at 84.44 pence.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 08, 2017 05:22 ET (09:22 GMT)