LONDON: London’s FTSE 100 fell on Thursday, weighed down by weakness in consumer staples due to concerns linked to the war in Ukraine, although the benchmark index recorded its sixth consecutive quarter of gains.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 closed 0.8% lower to mark its worst session in three weeks. Consumer staples including Unilever, British American Tobacco, Diageo were among the biggest fallers.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the country was prepared for new Russian attacks and that no quick resolution to the conflict was expected.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin is demanding foreign buyers pay for Russian gas in roubles from Friday or else have their supplies cut.
“I think it is the general panic that Putin’s statement has caused,” said Stuart Cole, head macro economist at Equiti Capital.
“There are a lot of European countries that will be severely impacted by this. The price of gas and fuel will potentially sky-rocket and even the traditional staples producers will struggle.” Energy giants BP Plc and Shell Plc ended 1.9% and 0.1% tracking weaker crude prices, although they recouped some of their early losses following Putin’s statement.
Data showed Britain’s economy grew more quickly than previously thought in the fourth quarter of 2021, as a surge in COVID-19-related activity in the health sector masked the inflation hit to household incomes.
The commodity-heavy FTSE recorded a sixth straight quarterly gain, while mid-cap stocks marked its worst quarterly performance since the pandemic crash in 2020 amid rising concerns about a dent to economic growth because of inflation.
The domestically focused mid cap index shed 0.5%, extending prior session’s losses.
Among individual shares, Brewin Dolphin surged 61.0% to hit a record high after Royal Bank of Canada made an all-cash offer of 1.6 billion pounds ($2.10 billion) to buy the company.
Tate & Lyle gained 1.8% after the food ingredient maker said it will buy Quantum Hi-Tech Biological Co for $237 million.