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Signage seen outside the entrance of the London Stock Exchange August 23, 2018. — Reuters pic
Signage seen outside the entrance of the London Stock Exchange August 23, 2018. — Reuters pic

LONDON, April 14 — London’s FTSE 100 slipped today and was on track to snap five straight weeks of gains, as energy stocks declined and a stronger pound hit large dollar-earning companies, while Wizz Air jumped after issuing a positive travel outlook.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 fell 0.2 per cent, with oil majors BP and Shell down 0.2 per cent and 0.5 per cent, respectively, on weaker crude prices.

GlaxoSmithKline, Unilever, Imperial Brands and British American Tobacco, which source a significant portion of their revenues from overseas, fell between than 0.4 per cent and 1.1 per cent as the pound strengthened.

The domestically focused midcap FTSE 250 index edged 0.1 per cent lower. Losses were capped by Wizz Air, which climbed 7.3 per cent to top the index after saying demand trends had been encouraging in recent weeks and summer bookings were expected to improve significantly after Easter. The wider travel and leisure index gained 1 per cent.

Market participants were awaiting a European Central Bank (ECB) meeting later in the day to see if it was as hawkish as other global central banks had been.

“Inflation, which was already high, has increased further as a result of the war in Ukraine, and central banks around the world are reacting to this,” said Moritz Paysen, a forex and rates adviser at Berenberg.

“So slowly, the ECB should also be more concrete about tightening monetary policy to send a clear signal to the market.”

Rising inflation and a tight labour market have rattled sentiment, with investors worrying aggressive moves by central banks could dent economic growth. Both the UK benchmark indexes were set to post weekly falls.

Traders see a 100 per cent chance of 25 basis point rate hike by the Bank of England at its May meeting as inflation hit a 30-year high of 7 per cent in March.

Ashmore Group slid 3.1 per cent after the emerging markets investment firm reported a US$9 billion (RM38 billion) drop in assets under management for the quarter to end-March due to the Ukraine crisis. — Reuters

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