UK stocks fall as consumer staples and brokerage stocks weigh

By Devik Jain

(Reuters) – British shares fell on Tuesday on concerns over slowing global economic growth and a series of negative brokerage stocks, while electrical engineering firm Spectris climbed after announcing the sale of units and the redemption of shares.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 edged down 0.1%, with spirits maker Diageo, soap maker Dove Unilever and personal goods maker Reckitt Benckiser Group down 1.2% to 3%.

However, gains in commodity stocks limited the losses. Oil majors BP and Shell rose 1.5% and 2.1%, respectively, after JP Morgan raised its price targets on the shares. [O/R]

Miners rose 1.7% as metal prices rose on hopes of further stimulus from China and concerns over low inventories. [MET/L]

The FTSE 250 index of domestically focused mid-cap companies fell 0.4%. SSP Group fell 4.7% to the bottom of the index after Deutsche Bank downgraded the Upper Crust owner’s stock from ‘hold’ to ‘buy’.

The World Bank on Monday lowered its global growth forecast for 2022 to 3.2% from 4.1%, due to the effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The International Monetary Fund is expected to lower its forecast later today.

“The market is not only reacting to the downgrades we saw yesterday in terms of growth expectations, but also thinks that this is probably the first of many downgrades we’re going to see in terms of growth and earnings as we go through the rest of the year,” said Michael Brown, head of business intelligence at Caxton.

Among shares, Spectris gained 4.7% after announcing the sale of specialist sensor maker Omega Engineering to private equity firm Arcline Investment Management for $525 million and a £300 million share buyback.

ITV fell 2.8% after Berenberg downgraded the broadcaster’s shares to ‘sell’ from ‘hold’.

ASOS fell 2.3% after Jefferies cut its price target on shares of the online fashion retailer, while low-cost carrier Wizz Air fell 3.3% after Barclays lowered its target of price.

(Reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Subhranshu Sahu)

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