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UPDATE 2-UK midcaps fall on virus woes; Bluechips supported by resource majors

Published 14/07/2020, 09:47
© Reuters.
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* FTSE 100 helped off session lows by resource stocks
* British economy shows signs of pickup in May
* Online retailers plummet amid weak consumer confidence

(Updates to close)
By Shashank Nayar and Ambar Warrick
July 14 (Reuters) - British mid-cap stocks ended lower on
Tuesday as fears of fresh coronavirus-driven lockdowns
overshadowed a fledgling economic recovery, while resource
stocks supported the bluechip index.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 .FTSE ended largely unchanged, but
well above session lows. Energy and mining stocks were the best
performers on the index for the day, helped by weakness in the
pound GBP= .
BP Plc BP.L provided the biggest boost to the index after
its partially owned Norwegian oil firm Aker BP AKERBP.OL on
Tuesday beat second-quarter pretax profit expectations.
Still, most other bluechip sectors ended lower as new
coronavirus restrictions in California pressured technology
stocks.
Tech-oriented investment trust Polar Capital Technology
Trust PCT.L was the biggest drag on Britain's midcap index
.FTMC , which lost 1.2% for the day.
Online gadget retailer AO World AO.L bottomed out the
midcap index .FTMC despite reporting a large jump in annual
profit, as it warned of a fall in consumer confidence.
Online supermarket and technology group Ocado OCDO.L
slipped 2.2% despite reporting a 27.2% jump in first-half retail
sales. Speculation over a second wave of British coronavirus
infections next winter rattled investors hoping for a quick
economic recovery from the pandemic. Local stocks have rallied from March lows amid slightly
improving economic readings, while the government's scaling back
of virus-related curbs also looked to help a recovery.
Still, markets remain wary of a surge in COVID-19 cases
after the reopening, as seen in the United States and other
major economies.
"With the UK being in the early stages of reopening up the
economy, there is a fear among investors that if a threshold is
exceeded, coronavirus cases might spike," said David Madden,
analyst at CMC Markets.
Data on Tuesday showed UK gross domestic product rose 1.8%
in May after slumping by a record 20.3% in April. But consumer
spending remains far below normal levels and economists are
cautious about the longevity of any recovery.

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