British shares ended lower on Thursday after broadly underperforming their European peers, dragged down by heavyweight financial and mining stocks in a thin trading session before a key European Central Bank meeting and U.S. inflation numbers.
The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index (.FTMC) declined -0.6% to a nearly two-week low over risks arising from a small jump in COVID-19 cases and the lack of a breakthrough in post-Brexit talks with the European Union. read more
World stocks hovered near record highs and U.S. bond yields fell, boosting the appeal of technology stocks as future inflation pressures ease.
"With uncertainty ahead of tomorrow’s ECB rate meeting, investors appear to be keeping their powder dry ahead of the announcement and the May CPI numbers from the US," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.
After breaking above the 7,000 mark in mid-April, the FTSE 100 index has oscillated in a narrow range on worries that rapid economic growth could lead to higher inflation and faster tightening of ultra-loose monetary policies.
Among stocks, Smith+Nephew (SN.L) jumped 2.3% and was among the top performers in the FTSE 100 index, after Credit Suisse upgraded the medical products maker's stock to "outperform" from "neutral".
Clinigen Group (CLINC.L) slumped -26.4% as RBC cut its price target on the stock after the pharmaceutical company forecast annual adjusted EBITDA within the range of 114 million pounds and 117 million pounds, lower than market expectations.
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