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FTSE 100 flat as losses in miners, energy stocks offset gains in banks

Financials, homebuilders boost British shares; C&C Group top midcap loser

By Shivani Kumaresan and Devik Jain

(Reuters) -London’s FTSE 100 was unchanged on Friday, as weakness in miners and energy stocks countered gains in bank shares, while the prospect of further stimulus in the United States made investors optimistic of speedy economic recovery.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was falt with banks and life insurers adding 0.6% and 0.1%, respectively. HSBC Holdings and Prudential provided the biggest boost.

Homebuilders jumped with Vistry Group and Taylor Wimpey gaining 4.2% and 2.6%, respectively.

Miners, including BHP Group, Antofagasta and oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell were the biggest drags of the index.

The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index inched 0.1% higher and outperformed the blue-chip index for the second straight week with a 1.2% gain.

Meanwhile, Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane warned there is a chance that cost pressures faced by British companies could lead to high prices that become embedded in pay demands, in an echo of inflationary wage-price spirals of previous decades. [nL5N2NF249]

After rising 8.7% in the first four months of this year on recovery optimism, the FTSE 100 has traded in a tight range in the past few sessions as concerns grew that central banks might pare back their support early as economies reopen and inflation picks up.

Globally, shares rallied too as investors bet the United States will lead the world out of the pandemic, with the focus turning to a multi-trillion dollar spending boost by the Biden administration. [MKTS/GLOB]

Among stocks, brewer C&C Group slipped 3.4% and was among the top losers of the FTSE 250 index after Berenberg cut its price target on the stock.

(Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan and Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Alison Williams)

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