LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Slips Toward Second Straight Loss, With Miners Under Pressure

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

EasyJet upgraded; pound falls below $1.34

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U.K. stocks eased Wednesday, with London's blue-chips gauge on course for a second straight loss in part as mining shares pulled lower.

What markets are doing: The FTSE 100 index fell 0.1% to 7,322.41, but pared back a loss of as much as 0.5% as consumer goods and services, oil and gas and utility shares turned higher. But the basic materials and tech sectors lead other groups lower. On Tuesday, the index shed 0.2% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftse-100-lifted-by-rising-supermarket-stocks-weaker-pound-2017-12-05) for its fourth loss in five sessions.

The pound fell to $1.3379 from $1.3442 late Tuesday in New York. Against the euro, sterling bought EUR1.1314, down from Tuesday when the pound bought EUR1.1367.

What's moving markets: Stocks trading in London and across Europe followed in the footsteps of losses Tuesday on Wall Street (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dow-looks-on-track-for-another-record-while-nasdaq-appears-set-to-fall-again-2017-12-05) and in Asian markets, where tech shares contributed to a 2% slide in Japan's Nikkei Average . Technology stocks globally have been under pressure on worries that the retention of the corporate alternative minimum tax, or AMT, in the U.S. Senate's version of the Republicans' tax bill would hit tech companies harder than others.

Read:European 'FANG' stocks? They exist, but here's why you shouldn't buy them (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-fang-stocks-they-exist-but-heres-why-you-shouldnt-buy-them-2017-11-27)

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The House's version of its tax bill repealed the corporate AMT, but in a last-minute switch before passing its bill early Saturday morning, the Senate decided to keep the provision.

In London, shares of enterprise software company Micro Focus International PLC (MCRO.LN) fell 2.7% and business software maker Sage Group PLC (SGE.LN) was off 1.5%.

Read:Here's how violent the stock-market rotation out of tech has been (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-how-violent-the-stock-market-rotation-out-of-tech-has-been-2017-12-05)

Also, mining stocks fell in the wake of a recent selloff in copper prices . Analysts have said there are concerns about rising inventories and the potential for slowing demand from China, which makes up about half of global consumption for the industrial metal.

Mining stocks make up an 88% weighting on the FTSE 100's basic materials group, which in turn has a roughly 8% weighting on the index, FactSet data show.

The pound moved to intraday lows after U.K. Brexit Secretary David Davis reportedly said the government hasn't carried out any economic assessment (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/uk-hasnt-carried-out-assessment-of-brexits-economic-impact-davis-2017-12-06) on how Britain's exit from the European Union will impact different parts of the British economy. Davis said the government will quantify the Brexit impact later in the process of Brexit negotiations, as there would be no point in drawing up impact assessments too early.

Also read:Terrorist plot to kill Theresa May thwarted by British agents (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/terrorist-plot-to-kill-theresa-may-thwarted-by-british-agents-2017-12-06)

Stock movers: Copper prices rose Wednesday following Tuesday's slide of 4.7% on the Comex market, according to FactSet data. London-listed mining stocks were losing ground, although they came off session lows. Glencore PLC (GLEN.LN) and Antofagasta PLC (ANTO.LN) each fell 0.7%, Rio Tinto PLC (RIO) (RIO) (RIO) gave up 0.6% and BHP Billiton PLC (BLT.LN) (BHP.AU) (BHP.AU) moved down 0.9%.

Hammerson PLC (HMSO.LN) fell 2.1% after the retail property developer said Wednesday it's buying shopping center owner Intu Properties (INTU.LN) for GBP3.4 billion ($4.6 billion). Intu shares rallied 18%.

EasyJet PLC (EZJ.LN) was up 1.2%, with a ratings upgrade to overweight from underweight at J.P. Morgan Cazenove. The discount airline said it'll roll out German domestic routes from Berlin next month, according to media reports.

Shares of Saga PLC (SAGA.LN) on the mid-cap FTSE 250 dropped 25% after the travel and insurance company warned that it expects its underlying profit growth (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/saga-profit-lagging-on-monarch-collapse-headwinds-2017-12-06) for its current financial year to be behind the previous year. It cited more challenging insurance broking conditions and disruption to its tour operations as reasons for the outlook.

The FTSE 250 fell 0.3% to 19,811.46.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 06, 2017 06:32 ET (11:32 GMT)