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Healthcare, consumer staples weigh on London’s FTSE 100

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The HSBC headquarters is seen in the Canary Wharf financial district in east London February 15, 2015. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

By Bansari Mayur Kamdar

(Reuters) -UK’s benchmark index declined on Wednesday, as mining shares fell after a broker downgraded Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) and Anglo American (LON:AAL), while investors awaited U.S. Federal Reserve’s rate decision later in the day.

The commodity-heavy FTSE 100 index was down 0.4% at 0830 GMT, as a decline in Rio Tinto plc and Anglo American after a ratings cut from Liberum weighed on the mining sector, pulling it down 1.4%.

Oil majors Shell (LON:RDSa) and BP (LON:BP) rose more than 1% each as crude prices bounced after the European Union spelled out plans to phase out imports of Russian oil, capping some losses in the benchmark index ahead of Fed’s announcement. [O/R]

Investors expect the Fed to hike rates by half a percentage point later in the day and detail plans to reduce its $8.9 trillion balance sheet.

Soaring inflation, Ukraine war and resurgence of China’s COVID lockdowns have weighed on the outlook for global growth, with the Bank of England expected to raise interest rates at a fourth meeting in a row on Thursday.

“It’s a difficult balancing act. If it doesn’t hike rates and doesn’t do something about these spiraling prices the pound is going to be affected,” said Danni Hewson, financial analyst at AJ Bell.

“If the pound isn’t strong then the purchasing power of UK consumers drops.”

The domestically-focussed mid-cap index fell 0.8%.

Online fashion retailer Boohoo dropped 13.6%, as it reported a 28% fall in annual core earnings and warned that pandemic-related external factors would continue to impact it this year.

“Online was the more cost effective option but as costs increase in terms of labor force and delivery costs, it stops being the sort of thing that sets Boohoo apart from other retailers,” said Danni Hewson. “Retail across the board is struggling.”

Data showed that shop prices in Britain surged last month at the fastest rate in more than a decade and the worse is yet to come.

Aston Martin Lagonda rose 9.5% after the luxury carmaker named Amedeo Felisa, the former boss of Ferrari NV (NYSE:RACE), as its new chief executive officer.

HSBC climbed 0.7% after the lender kicked off its planned $1 billion share buyback.

UK’s FTSE 100 falls ahead of Fed decision as miners decline

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