By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch
The FTSE 100 was headed for a weekly gain of just over 1%, but stocks in London eased along with global equities Friday as investors appeared to take a more cautious view of U.S.-China trade progress.
The FTSE 100 index (FTSE:UK:UKX) slipped 0.4% to 7,378.01, after breaking a winning streak that stretched for five sessions. For the week, the index is up 1%, after the prior week’s 0.3% loss. The pound (XTUP:GBPUSD) slipped 0.1% to $1.2808.
Enthusiasm for assets considered risky appeared to be replaced by a more cautious posture across global equities, with market participants assessing dual narratives on progress in Sino-American trade talks and reports of White-House infighting.
A day earlier global equities rallied on a report that the U.S. and China had agreed to roll back duties in stages, though comments later Thursday, that here was no formal agreement in place and the final decision would lie with U.S. President Donald Trump weighed on Asian equities, European stocks and U.S. stock futures.
The mining sector is particularly sensitive to developments on the trade front as China is a big user of those resources. Shares of heavily weighed Rio Tinto PLC (NYS:RIO) (LON:UK:RIO) slid 3%, while BHP Group PLC (LON:UK:BHP) dropped 1.8% and Anglo American PLC (LON:UK:AAL) fell 2.5%.
Energy names also came under pressure, with shares of BP (NYS:BP) (LON:UK:BP) down over 1.2%. And heavily weighted banks were down, with HSBC Holdings PLC (LON:UK:HSBA) (LON:UK:HSBA) falling 1%.
Among midcap companies, Beazley PLC (LON:UK:BEZ) led the gainers with an 8.7% jump, after the specialist insurer reported a sharp fall in 2018 profit owing to underwriting losses and lower investment returns, but said it sees a stronger 2019 on higher premium prices and interest rates.