Miners fall after downbeat China trade figures
U.K. stocks eked out a slight gain Monday, even as mining shares slumped, as European equities took a breather after French voters elected market-friendly centrist Emmanuel Macron as their next president.
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The FTSE 100 index inched up by less than 0.1% to finish at 7,300.86 after dipping in and out of negative territory during the session.
Continental markets, including France's CAC 40 , closed lower (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-pull-back-from-21-month-high-after-macron-wins-french-election-2017-05-08). The moves came after Macron, as widely expected, defeated far-right euroskeptic Marine Le Pen to win the French presidential election (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/macron-handily-wins-french-presidential-electionan-upbeat-outcome-for-wall-street-2017-05-07).
"Much was priced into markets before the event, but we remain positive on a medium-term view," wrote Jaisal Pastakia, investment manager at Heartwood Investment Management, in a note.
Read:Why the Macron-inspired rally for global markets is fizzling (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-why-the-macron-inspired-rally-for-global-markets-is-fizzling-2017-05-08)
And see:Investors are breathing a sigh of relief over France, for now (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/investors-are-breathing-a-sigh-of-relief-over-france-for-now-2017-05-07)
"Of course, questions remain around what Macron can actually achieve over the longer term. A lot will depend on the outcome of the parliamentary elections in June and the mandate he can secure. The risk is France gets a fragmented parliament," Pastsakia added.
The French parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held on June 11 and 18.
The London benchmark finished last week up by 1.3%. It gained 0.7% on Friday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oils-comeback-helps-lift-ftse-100-ahead-of-us-jobs-report-2017-05-05), rising alongside European equities , which closed at a 21-month high.
Check out:Macron's toughest task -- keep the EU from collapsing (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/macron-the-redeemers-toughest-task-keep-the-european-union-from-collapsing-2017-05-07)
Miners slide:A disappointing trade update from China (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/china-trade-surplus-widens-as-momentum-slips-2017-05-08) weighed on London-listed mining shares. The sector is sensitive to economic data from China, which is a major buyer of industrial and precious metals.
Chinese exports in April rose 8%, short of the 10% increase expected by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal. Imports climbed 11.9%, also below forecasts, after a 20.3% rise in March. China's trade surplus increased to $38.05 billion, from $23.93 billion the previous month.
In the mining group, shares of Anglo American PLC (AAL.LN) fell 2%, Rio Tinto PLC (RIO) (RIO) (RIO) declined 1.5%, and Fresnillo PLC (FRES.LN) pulled back by 1.3%.
Stock movers: Centrica PLC (CNA.LN) gained 1.9% as the British Gas parent said it will report 2017 results in line with its previous guidance (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/centrica-backs-2017-guidance-including-job-cuts-2017-05-08), including further 250 million pounds ($313.8 million) of cost-savings and cuts of 1,500 jobs.
"It was a surprise to hear Centrica reiterating it will meet 2017 targets, despite less energy use in the milder British winter and heading into what looks like a period of more hostile government policy," said Jasper Lawler, senior market analyst at London Capital Group, in a note.
Advancers in the FTSE 100 also included real estate investment trusts Land Securities PLC (LAND.LN) and Intu Properties PLC (INTU.LN) , up 1.7% and 2.2%, respectively.
The pound was buying $1.2938, down from $1.2981 late Friday in New York. Sterling is approaching $1.30, where it hasn't traded since September, according to FactSet data.
The euro was off 0.3% against the pound, at 84.45 pence.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 08, 2017 12:39 ET (16:39 GMT)