Miners, energy weigh on London stocks; AstraZeneca slips

  • AstraZeneca down on report of plans for China business spin off
  • Inflation data, BoE rate decision due this week
  • Rolls-Royce up as Paris Airshow gets underway
  • Coca-Cola HBC falls on deal to buy Finlandia owner
  • FTSE 100, FTSE 250 off 0.4% each

June 19 (Reuters) – UK’s resources-heavy benchmark index slipped on Monday, dragged by miners and energy stocks, with AstraZeneca weighing on the healthcare sector after a report on the drugmaker’s plans to spin off its China business.

The FTSE 100 (.FTSE) was down 0.4% at 0813 GMT after logging a weekly gain of 1% on Friday.

The FTSE 250 (.FTMC) mid-cap index fell 0.4%.

Miners (.FTNMX551020) and energy stocks (.FTNMX601010) fell 1% and 0.4%, respectively, on lower metals and crude oil prices amid uncertainties around top consumer China.

AstraZeneca (AZN.L) fell 1%, dragging the healthcare sector (.FTNMX201030) down 0.5% on a Financial Times’ report saying the company plans to spin off its China business and is considering a separate unit listing in Hong Kong.

Investors will closely monitor key readings on domestic inflation due Wednesday to gauge the path for monetary policy, with the Bank of England looking set to raise interest rates by a quarter point to a 15-year high of 4.75% a day later.

“There is expected to be no letup in hikes for the UK … this will affect homeowners on variable mortgages, whose payments will ramp up yet again, reducing their spending power,” said Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown.

A survey showed a decline in asking prices for British homes in June for the first time in six years, indicating an earlier-than-usual summer slowdown amid mortgage market turmoil.

UK’s homebuilders (.FTNMX402020) dropped 1.2%.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s semi-annual monetary policy testimony on Wednesday will be watched after the central bank halted its rate-hiking cycle last week but projected more increases this year, with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday also on tap.

Coca-Cola HBC AG CCH.L slipped 0.9% after it said it will buy Finlandia vodka brand owner Brown-Forman Finland Oy for $220 million, while Rolls-Royce RR.L gained 1.1% as the week-long Paris Airshow begins on Monday.

Reporting by Ankika Biswas in Bengaluru; Editing by Nivedita Bhattacharjee and Sonia Cheema

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