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FTSE 100 rises on healthcare, utilities boost

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen outside the entrance of the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain. Aug 23, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

By Sruthi Shankar

(Reuters) -UK’s main equity indexes slipped on Tuesday as investors weighed the prospect of more sanctions against Russia, while bearish brokerage calls hit blue-chip stocks like Vodafone (LON:VOD) and Lloyds.

The export-oriented FTSE 100 slipped 0.1%, while the domestically focussed mid-cap FTSE 250 index fell 0.2%.

Global miners such as Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) and Anglo American (LON:AAL) fell more than 1% each. The wider industrial mining index retreated 1.4% after hitting its highest in more than a decade in the previous session. Homebuilders dropped 1.6%.

While overall markets trod with caution, the oil & gas index rose 0.5% as crude prices advanced towards $110 a barrel on plans by the United States and Europe to impose new sanctions to punish Moscow over civilian killings in Ukraine.

“We’re in choppy waters. You’ve had this rebound in growth names which hasn’t helped the UK in the short term,” said Rupert Thompson, an investment strategist at Kingswood.

“In the six- to 12-month horizon, we think the UK will outperform because we still buy the story that it is super cheap, and that there is going to be a further rotation into value.”

The FTSE 100 ended the first quarter with gains, faring better than its European and U.S. peers as surging commodity prices boosted shares of mining and oil majors, while banks gained from the prospect of rising interest rates.

However, the index has stalled recently as investors remain concerned about the fallout from the war in Ukraine, inflation and quicker interest rate hikes.

Telecoms group Vodafone slipped 1.3% as Berenberg downgraded the stock to “hold” from “buy”, while Lloyds Banking Group (LON:LLOY) slid 0.6% after Barclays (LON:BARC) cut it to “equal weight”.

Weighing on the mid-cap index, cybersecurity company Darktrace (LON:DARK) dropped 7.1% after J.P. Morgan started its coverage with an “underweight” rating.

Transport operator Go-Ahead rose 6.2% after it said it would reinstate its pre-COVID policy of paying a dividend to shareholders from fiscal year 2022.

Russia sanction worries, broker downgrades keep FTSE 100 under pressure

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