LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Eases From Record High In Holiday-shortened Session

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatchFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

U.K. GDP expands 0.3% in Q3; Ladbrokes agrees to takeover

Blue-chip stocks in the U.K. closed lower Friday, edging back from a record, with investors receiving the final look at British economic growth for the third quarter as they wrapped up what ended as a winning week for the market.

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How markets moved: The FTSE 100 index fell 0.2% to 7,592.66 in a shortened session that finished at 12:30 p.m. London time. Commodity-related shares fell alongside financial and industrial stocks. But tech, consumer-related and utility shares moved higher, according to FactSet data.

On Thursday, the benchmark jumped 1% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftse-100-searches-for-direction-after-gloomy-uk-consumer-updates-2017-12-21) to log a record close of 7,601.78.

Trading will be closed on Monday for the Christmas Day holiday and on Tuesday for Boxing Day.

For the week, the FTSE 100 rose 1.4%, a third straight week of gains. For 2017, the index was looking at a 6.3% advance and that would extend last year's climb of 14.4%.

The pound on Friday bought $1.3378, slightly lower than $1.3385 late Thursday in New York.

The midcap FTSE 250 closed up 0.3% at 20,481.07 for a weekly rise of 2.2%.

Read:4 reasons Wall Street banks have the hots for Europe in 2018 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/4-reasons-wall-street-banks-have-the-hots-for-europe-in-2018-2017-12-20)

Also read:European stocks set for a winning 2017, but euro's rise was a challenge (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-set-for-a-winning-2017-but-euros-rise-was-a-challenge-2017-12-20)

What moved markets: In broader European trade , Spanish stocks dropped after parliamentary elections in Catalonia handed a win to the separatist movement (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/spanish-stocks-slump-after-separatists-win-catalonia-election-2017-12-22), rekindling fears of the re-emergence of tensions in Spain.

London-listed bank stocks fell alongside bank shares in Madrid. Barclays PLC (BCS) (BCS) lost 1.2% and HSBC Holdings PLC (HSBA.LN) gave up 0.6%.

The pound rose to an intraday high of $1.3398 after the Office for National Statistics confirmed the U.K. economy expanded by 0.3% in the third quarter, and said the annual growth rate was raised to 1.7% from a previous estimate of 1.5%.

The final GDP reading for the quarter arrived after the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday downgraded its 2017 growth view to 1.6% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/imf-downgrades-uk-growth-forecast-2017-12-20) and said it expects growth to slow to 1.5% in 2018. The fund said Britain's pending exit from the European Union was slowing down growth, and it warned that a "breakdown in discussions could lead to a disorderly exit from the EU and sharp falls in asset prices."

Stock movers: Retail stocks gained ground heading into the last weekend before Christmas. Apparel and home furnishings retailer Next PLC (NXT.LN) jumped 3.7%, topping the FTSE 100 and Marks & Spencer Group PLC (MKS.LN) rose 0.3%.

DIY retailer Kingfisher (KGF.LN) rose 0.5% and luxury-goods maker Burberry PLC (BRBY.LN) ended up 0.3%.

Mining shares closed mostly lower, not following up on gains made in Australian trade. Accendo Markets pointed out that shares of metals producers in Australia hit five-year highs, aided in part by a pull back in the U.S. dollar, which helps dollar-denominated commodity prices.

In London trade, iron ore producers Rio Tinto PLC (RIO) (RIO) (RIO) and BHP Billiton PLC (BLT.LN) (BHP.AU) (BHP.AU) fell 0.7% and 0.4%, respectively. Glencore PLC (GLEN.LN)(GLEN.LN) was off 0.2%. But Randgold Resources PLC (RRS.LN) (RRS.LN) outperformed by rising 0.4%.

Oil producer Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN) (RDSB.LN) eked out a 0.1% rise. The company said Thursday it is expanding its business by moving into the U.K. household-energy market with its purchase of First Utility Ltd. for an undisclosed price (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/shell-moves-into-uk-household-energy-market-2017-12-21).

Off the FTSE 100, shares of Ladbrokes Coral Group PLC (LCL.LN) rose 1.4% after the betting company accepted a takeover offer from GVC Holdings PLC (GVC.LN) worth up to GBP4 billion ($5.36 billion). (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ladbrokes-coral-accepts-gvc-takeover-bid-2017-12-22)

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 22, 2017 08:26 ET (13:26 GMT)