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UK shares retreated on Monday on weakness in consumer staple and healthcare stocks, while poor data from China ignited fresh concerns about a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index slipped 0.7% by 0712 GMT, with consumer company Unilever and drugmaker AstraZeneca being the biggest drags.

The domestically focussed midcap index also dropped 0.7%. Keeping the global mood in check, data showed China’s retail and factory activity fell sharply in April as wide COVID-19 lockdowns confined workers and consumers to their homes and severely disrupted supply chains.

European airline Ryanair slipped 4% after it said it was impossible to give a detailed forecast beyond hoping to return to “reasonable profitability” this year amid uncertainties over COVID-19 and the Ukraine war.

London stocks clock weekly gains

Among gainers, Vodafone jumped 3.6% after United Arab Emirates-based telecoms group e& bought a 9.8% stake in the company for $4.4 billion.

British baker and fast food chain Greggs rose 2.6% as it reported a rise in first-quarter sales that was flattered by comparison with restricted trading conditions due to COVID-19 in the same period of 2021.

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