UPDATE 2-Britain's FTSE 250 stumbles as Brexit worries bite; Ocado shines

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
UPDATE 2-Britain's FTSE 250 stumbles as Brexit worries bite; Ocado shines
Credit: © Reuters.

* FTSE 100 down 0.2%, FTSE 250 down 0.6%

* Brexit jitters drag sterling lower

* Miners slip as copper prices ease

* Ocado climbs after affirming forecast

* BASF profit alert hits industrials (Adds news items, analyst comments, updates to closing prices)

By Shashwat Awasthi and Muvija M

July 9 (Reuters) - Britain's mid-cap index fell for the third straight session on Tuesday amid a deteriorating economic outlook and Brexit tensions, while online grocer Ocado jumped on the FTSE 100 after confirmed its annual forecast.

The main index .FTSE fell 0.2% and the mid-cap FTSE 250 .FTMC shed 0.6%, as a hefty profit warning from German chemicals giant BASF BASFn.DE rocked several industrial companies.

Sterling fell towards its lowest levels in more than two years, pressured by a cocktail of gloomy retail sales data and lingering fears of a 'no-deal' Brexit. GBP/ Harrison, portfolio manager and head of research for the diversified strategies team at BlackRock (NYSE: BLK ), said the outlook had deteriorated over the past three months, while the chance of an "extreme outcome" had risen compared with the probability of a managed exit.

"We're relatively negative on the macro-economy. The cumulative impact of the (Brexit) uncertainty... has definitely had a negative impact on momentum," Harrison said.

Dublin's main index .ISEQ , generally sensitive to Brexit jitters and often considered a gauge of risk sentiment, slipped 0.8%.

Shares of airlines and tourism companies took a hit from the increasing uncertainty. TUI TUIT.L and easyJet EZJ.L fell about 3%, British Airways owner IAG ICAG.L lost 1.6%, while Thomas Cook TCG.L gave up 5.1%.

The FTSE 100 took a back seat to the domestic index, but was led lower by losses in miners .FTNMX1770 , as copper prices continued their recent slide on worries over waning demand from top consumer China. Ocado OCDO.L surged 5.6% on its best day since late February after it affirmed its annual forecast, even though its first-half core earnings nearly halved, partly due to the impact of a fire at its flagship robotic warehouse. sub-index of chemical companies .FTNMX1350 slipped to a more than six-month low and underperformed the broader index, after BASF BASFn.DE warned on profit, citing impact from the U.S.-China trade dispute.

Shares of Melrose MRON.L tumbled 4.1% on the main index, while Bodycote BOY.L , Vesuvius VSVS.L and Weir Group WEIR.L were among the top mid-cap losers.

Software firm Micro Focus MCRO.L declined 5.3% after a higher-than-expected drop in first-half licence revenue. Magnesita RHIM.L , which sells products made with heat-resistant materials, skidded 5.9% on the FTSE 250 after announcing a placing of about 2.2 million shares.

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