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Sept. 29, 2020, 8:04 a.m. EDT

FTSE 100 slips a day after strong gains for U.K. blue chips

By Steve Goldstein

U.K. blue-chip stocks slipped on Tuesday after the best one-day advance in three weeks.

After Monday’s 1.5% rise, the FTSE 100 (FTSE:UK:UKX) slipped 0.4%. HSBC Holdings (LON:UK:HSBA) shares fell 3%, a day after the U.K. bank surged on news China’s Ping An was boosting its stake.

Politics on both sides of the Atlantic was in the spotlight. The U.K. is holding talks this week with the European Union, as it pushes through an internal markets bill that would undo elements of last year’s withdrawal agreement.

House Democrats unveiled a $2.2 trillion stimulus package that is meant to be a bargaining tool, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin due to rekindle negotiations. The main event of the day will come after U.K. and U.S. markets close, which is the first debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Shares of Ferguson (LON:UK:FERG) rose as the plumbing products supplier reported a 4% fall in pretax profits in the July 31-ending fiscal year, reinstated a dividend and said it would resume bolt-on acquisitions.

B&M European Value Retail (LON:UK:BME) rose 5%, as it revised up its first-half earnings guidance for a second time, after like-for-like revenue gains of 23%.

Greggs (LON:UK:GRG) shares slumped 8%, as the bakery said like-for-like sales in the four weeks to Sept. 26 have averaged 76.1% of the 2019 level in company-managed shops. Greggs said it plans to cut jobs as its trading outlook “remains uncertain.”

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