BP, mining stocks help lead the way down
British blue-chip stocks finished lower Tuesday, pulled down in part by a fall in shares of BP PLC after the energy heavyweight said it will take a $1.7 billion charge related to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
A selloff for miners also weighed on the main equity benchmark.
How markets are moving: The FTSE 100 index fell 0.2% to close at 7,755.93, building on Monday's 0.1% decline (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftse-100-steps-back-from-record-with-carillion-collapse-in-focus-2018-01-15).
The London benchmark still stands near it all-time closing high of 7,778.64, hit Friday.
The pound traded at $1.3775, slipping from $1.3782 ahead of the release of inflation data. Sterling was at $1.3794 late Monday in New York, after breaking above $1.38 earlier in that session.
What's driving markets: Before finishing lower, the FTSE 100 wobbled in early trading, with the decline for BP shares and the drop in pound pulling in different directions.
The energy giant said it expects to book a $1.7 billion charge (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bp-to-book-17-billion-deepwater-horizon-charge-2018-01-16-34853027) in its 2017 fourth-quarter results for claims related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The company has already said it is likely to take a $1.5 billion accounting charge related to U.S. tax reform. BP shares have a weighting of 5.1% on the FTSE 100, the fourth-highest of any individual company, according to FactSet data.
Stock movers: BP PLC (BP.LN) (BP.LN) lost 2.7% after the announcement of the Deepwater Horizon charge.
Rio Tinto PLC (RIO) (RIO) (RIO) said it continues to expect shipments of iron ore from its Western Australia mines (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/rio-tinto-sees-record-quarterly-iron-ore-shipments-2018-01-16) will likely rise this year, after record exports in the last quarter allowed it to hit a target for 2017.
But the miner's shares closed down by 3%, as a downgrade may have hurt. HSBC analysts cut their ratings on Rio and Anglo American PLC to hold from buy, saying a recent rally has eroded the stocks' potential for further growth.
Anglo (AAL.LN) lost 1.6%, and Antofagasta PLC (ANTO.LN) fell 2.8%.
On the upside, shares in Associated British Foods (ABF.LN) added 2.2% following a ratings upgrade to overweight from equal weight at Barclays.
Advancers also included supermarket chain Tesco PLC (TSCO.LN) , higher by 1.9%.
Economic data: U.K. inflation came in at 3% in December (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/uk-inflation-eases-but-stays-above-boe-target-2018-01-16), the Office for National Statistics reported, meeting a consensus estimate from FactSet. The rate compares with a reading of 3.1% in November.
Average house prices in the U.K. rose 5.1% in November, the ONS said.
What strategists are saying: "The [inflation] data is unlikely to greatly sway the Bank of England MPC's current views, although it is sure to be monitoring the current [pound] rally, continuing to erode the Brexit inflation of the last 18 months" said Mike van Dulken and Henry Croft at Accendo Markets.
"More of this could see the U.K. central bank in a position to hike interest rates sooner than markets are perhaps pricing in," the analysts said in a note.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 16, 2018 12:03 ET (17:03 GMT)