UK shares fall as consumer staples stocks, brokerage actions weigh

A worker shelters from the rain under a Union Flag umbrella as he passes the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain, October 1, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville

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  • Spectris rises after deal to sell Omega Engineering
  • FTSE 100 down 0.2%, FTSE 250 off 0.8%

April 19 (Reuters) – UK shares closed lower on Tuesday, weighed by concerns about a slowdown in global economic growth and a series of negative brokerage actions, while electrical engineering firm Spectris climbed after announcing a unit sale and share buyback.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 (.FTSE) edged down 0.2%, with spirits maker Diageo (DGE.L), Dove soap maker Unilever (ULVR.L) and personal goods maker Reckitt Benckiser Group (RKT.L)all falling between 2.1% and 1.5%.

However, gains in commodity stocks limited the losses. Oil majors BP (BP.L) and Shell (SHEL.L)were up 0.4% and 1.6%, respectively, after JP Morgan raised its price targets on the stocks.

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The domestically focused midcap FTSE 250 index (.FTMC) declined 0.8%. SSP Group (SSPG.L) fell 6.3% and was among the biggest decliners on the index after Deutsche Bank downgraded the Upper Crust owner’s stock to “hold” from “buy”.

The World Bank on Monday lowered its global growth forecast for 2022 to 3.2% from 4.1%, due to the wider impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The International Monetary Fund is expected to cut its outlook later in the day. read more

“The market is not only reacting to the downgrades that we’ve seen in terms of growth expectations yesterday, but also thinking that this is probably the first of many downgrades that we’re going see to growth and earnings as we go through the remainder of the year,” said Michael Brown, head of market intelligence at Caxton.

Among stocks, Spectris (SXS.L) gained 4.7% after it announced the selling of specialist sensor maker Omega Engineering to private equity firm Arcline Investment Management for $525 million and a 300-million-pound stock buyback.

ITV (ITV.L) fell 3.6% after Berenberg downgraded the broadcaster’s stock to “sell” from “hold”.

ASOS (ASOS.L) dipped 1.2% after Jefferies cut its price target on the online fashion retailer, while low-cost carrier Wizz Air (WIZZ.L) dropped 5.4% after Barclays lowered its price target.

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Reporting by Devik Jain and Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Bernadette Baum

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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