Mining, financial stocks drag FTSE 100 lower; Clinigen Group tumbles

(Reuters) – London’s FTSE 100 index underperformed its European peers on Wednesday, weighed down by heavyweight financials and mining stocks, while Clinigen Group eyed its worst day on record after a downbeat earnings update.

FILE PHOTO: People walk past the entrance of the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain. Aug 23, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File photo

The blue-chip index fell 0.6%, dragged down by life insurers, base metal miners and homebuilders.

Banks gave up 1.3%, with Barclays leading the decline. HSBC Holdings slipped 1.2% after Moody’s downgraded its senior insecured debt rating to A3 from A2.

The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index declined 0.4%.

World stock prices held near record highs as investors bet the Federal Reserve is some way off from tapering its economic stimulus.

“It has been a very quiet week. Everyone is waiting for the ECB decision and the U.S. inflation numbers tomorrow. Volumes are very light and there’s not much sort of decisive leadership across sectors,” said Ian Williams, economics & strategy research analyst at Peel Hunt.

“Compared to the Fed and even the Bank of England, the ECB probably would be a little bit more cautious and the withdrawal of stimulus in the eurozone is further away than it is here or in the U.S.”

After breaking above the 7,000 mark in mid-April, the FTSE 100 index has oscillated in a narrow range on worries that rapid economic growth could lead to higher inflation and faster tightening of ultra-loose monetary policies.

Among stocks, Smith+Nephew jumped 4% to the top of the FTSE 100 index, after Credit Suisse upgraded the medical products maker’s stock to “outperform” from “neutral”.

Clinigen Group slumped 23% as RBC cut its price target on the stock after the pharmaceutical company forecast annual adjusted EBITDA within the range of 114 million pounds and 117 million pounds, lower than market expectations.

Upper Crust owner SSP Group reversed its course to trade 1.2% higher even after it reported a first-half loss of 182 million pounds ($257.62 million), bringing its shortfall over the past 18 months to more than 600 million pounds.

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