LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Ends With Losses As Pound Extends Gains

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Tesco wants regulator to speed up M&A probe

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U.K. stocks reversed earlier gains to end at seven-week low on Thursday, as a resurgent pound put pressure on the main index.

The FTSE 100 traded as high as 0.8%, only to reverse and close 0.5% lower at 7,350.32, with the utilities leading the decliners. The London benchmark on Wednesday fell 0.6% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftse-100-falls-as-oils-slide-pulls-energy-majors-lower-pound-holds-to-gains-2017-06-28) and today's finish is the lowest since May 8, according to FactSet data.

"In a week that has been dominated by wildly conflicting accounts across the central bank sphere, there has certainly been a more hawkish tilt to UK and eurozone monetary policy," said Joshua Mahony, Market Analyst at IG in emailed notes.

The basic materials group rose the most Thursday. Shares of mining companies advanced as copper and other dollar-denominated metals prices gained on the back of a decline in the dollar .

Copper producer Anglo American PLC (AAL.LN) popped up 1.7%, Glencore PLC (GLEN.LN) gained 2.2% and Antofagasta PLC (ANTO.LN) rose 3.9%.

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The dollar was knocked down against the euro and the pound . The euro traded above $1.14 for the first time since June 2016, and sterling is approaching $1.30 following comments made Wednesday by Bank of England Gov. Mark Carney.

The BOE chief "said that if the jobs market remains healthy and unemployment low, then the Monetary Policy Committee 'tolerance for above-target inflation falls,' which is another way of saying the BOE will tighten its policy if they are proven wrong on their inflation forecasts for a bit longer," wrote Fawad Razaqzada, market analyst at Forex.com, in a late Wednesday note.

Read:BOE chief Carney hints at rate rise (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/boe-chief-carney-hints-at-rate-rise-2017-06-28)

The pound was trading at $1.2981, up from $1.2927 late Wednesday in New York.

Stronger sterling can weigh on the FTSE 100, as a higher value for the currency reduces the revenue generated overseas by the index's multinational companies.

Stock movers: Tesco PLC (TSCO.LN) has requested the U.K.'s competition regulator to fast-track its inquiry into the supermarket chain's proposed GBP3.7 billion acquisition of food wholesaler Booker Group (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tesco-asks-cma-to-fast-track-booker-deal-probe-2017-06-29)(BOK.LN). Tesco shares were up 0.2%, while Booker declined 0.2%.

HSBC Holdings PLC (HSBA.LN) (HSBA.LN) drove 4.2% higher. The move came as Morgan Stanley raised its price target on the lender's Hong Kong-listed shares (HSBA.LN), as well as on its per-share earnings expectations through 2019, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

DS Smith PLC (SMDS.LN) shares rallied 8.4% on the midcap FTSE 250 after the packaging company struck a deal to buy U.S. packaging and paper producer Indevco Management Resources Inc. for $920 million (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ds-smith-profit-up-to-buy-control-of-indevco-2017-06-29). DS Smith also posted a 31% jump in fiscal 2017 pretax profit.

Pay-TV company Sky PLC (SKY.LN) gained 3.3% after the U.K. government referred 21st Century Fox Inc.'s (FOX) proposed bid to buy the rest of Sky it doesn't already own to the country's competition authority (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/foxs-bid-for-sky-set-for-further-uk-scrutiny-2017-06-29). 21st Century Fox shares rose 0.4%.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 29, 2017 12:42 ET (16:42 GMT)