London’s FTSE 100 fell on Monday, dragged down by heavyweight energy and mining stocks on lower commodity prices, while gains in insurers led by Admiral Group helped cut some of the losses.
British motor insurer Admiral rose 3.4% to the top of the FTSE 100 after it said it was on track for a higher-than-expected first-half profit due to lower motor accident claims through pandemic lockdowns.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 dropped 0.7% with heavyweight energy stocks and precious metal miners falling the most on weak commodity prices and demand concerns amid rising coronavirus infections.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will urge caution on Monday as he is expected to confirm plans to remove nearly all remaining COVID-19 restrictions in England from July 19, despite a surge of cases to levels unseen for months.
“There appears to be a narrative of some concern that the reflation trade is either in trouble, or merely being delayed, due to concern over rising Delta variant cases,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.
“Either way, stock markets appear to be fairly comfortable…, with the FTSE 100 being confined to a clearly defined range.”
Concerns over a recent jump in local coronavirus infections have kept the FTSE 100 range-bound near its 7,100 level, limiting further gains and also leading the index to largely underperform its local mid-cap peer.
Among stocks, Tate & Lyle Plc rose 2.7% after it agreed to sell a controlling stake in its commercial sweeteners business in a deal that values the new standalone unit at $1.7 billion, including debt.
Daily Mail and General Trust Plc climbed 4.8% after it said the Rothermere family was prepared to make an 810 million pound ($1.13 billion) bid if the divestment of its insurance risk division and Cazoo business went through.
The domestically focussed mid-cap index inched 0.2% lower.
(Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)