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

Whitbread shares knocked down on cautious consumer view

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% (, 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%.

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," ( 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 ( 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 (

And read:Watch for shift from Le Pen--analysts on what's next in French election (

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

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