UPDATE 1-UK markets fall on Christmas eve, no Santa rally in sight

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
UPDATE 1-UK markets fall on Christmas eve, no Santa rally in sight
Credit: © Reuters.

* FTSE 100 down 0.5 pct

* FTSE 250 down 0.8 pct

* Multinational stocks dip on weak dollar

* Mid-cap Playtech falls on profit warning (Adds company news items, analyst comment, updates share moves)

By Muvija M and Shashwat Awasthi

Dec 24 (Reuters) - British shares dipped on Monday as world stocks fell on reports that U.S. President Donald Trump privately discussed firing the head of the Federal Reserve and a partial U.S. government shutdown.

The FTSE 100 .FTSE was down 0.5 percent and the mid-cap index .FTMC was 0.8 percent lower, setting a bleak tone for a holiday-shortened week.

Weakness in the dollar weighed on companies with a greater international presence, making them the biggest drags on Britain's main index .FTSE . HSBC HSBA.L slipped 1.1 percent, while GlaxoSmithKline GSK.L was 1 percent lower.

Diageo DGE.L , the world's biggest drinks marker, and consumer goods giant Unilever ULVR.L were down by around 1 percent, while tobacco firms Imperial Brands IMB.L and British American Tobacco (JO: SNHJ ) BATS.L fell 2 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.

Investors came back to oil stocks following sessions of steep losses in crude prices that hit oil companies. Shell RDSa.L and BP BP.L managed slight gains as oil prices rose on signs the price fall may start crimping supply from the United States. O/R

Most global markets were hit following reports that Trump discussed firing Fed chair Jerome Powell. However, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a tweet on Saturday that Trump had told him he had "never suggested firing" Powell. MKTS/GLOB added to nerves over a partial federal government shutdown as Democrats rejected Trump's demand for more funds for a wall on the border with Mexico.

British indexes are on track for their worst yearly performance since the 2008 financial crisis, as jittery investors dumped shares amid concerns over Brexit, a slowdown in global economy, plunging oil prices and a trade spat between Washington and Beijing.

Britain's mid-cap index, which is more exposed to the outcomes of Brexit, has lost more than 16 percent in the year-to-date and is a little over 1 percent away from confirming a bear market with a 20 percent drop since its peak close in June.

"If 2018 was the beginning of the end of the 10 year bull market, 2019 could well give stocks an additional shove to the downside," CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said.

Among the few news-driven moves, mid-cap gambling software company Playtech PTEC.L gave up 7 percent, after earlier hitting its lowest in over six years, as it flagged that a change in Italian gambling tax law would hit its 2019 core earnings. companies GVC GVC.L , Paddy Power Betfair PPB.I and William Hill WMH.L also fell between 0.6 percent and 2.1 percent.

Shares in London Stock Exchange LSE.L were among the top losers on the main index with a 3.9 percent dip after exchanges group Euronext ENX.PA announced plans to buy the owner of the Oslo stock exchange for 625 million euros. Sorrell's S4 Capital SFOR.L slipped nearly 3 percent on its first trading day on the London Stock Exchange's main market. against the tide, Whitbread WTB.L added 1.3 percent after it said the European Union approved its sale of Costa coffee chain to Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO ) Co KO.N and announced a 500-million-pound share buyback. RSI of FTSE, FTMC

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