Britain’s blue-chip share index ended higher on Monday, as gains in drugmaker AstraZeneca and consumer stocks relieved pressure from losses in mining and oil heavyweights after data showed China’s economy unexpectedly slowed last month.
The FTSE 100 rose 0.1% to hold near 10-week highs, while the midcap FTSE 250 index climbed 0.2%.
The mood was sombre across global stock markets, with investors turning to defensive sectors such as healthcare and consumer staples amid worries about the health of the world’s second-largest economy.
“People are going to be worried a whole lot over the global economy,” said Capital Economics’ Oliver Allen.
“So if you’re looking at things through that kind of risk premia, that’s a bit worse for energy, materials, financials and some of the things that the FTSE 100 specialises in.”
The FTSE 100 has outperformed its global peers this year due to its large exposure to commodity stocks that have surged on the back of a jump in oil and metal prices. A weakening pound has also boosted dollar earners in the index.
The FTSE 100 is up nearly 2% so far this year, while the MSCI world equities index has shed almost 13%.
Oil major Shell and miners Rio Tinto and Anglo American slipped on Monday, in tandem with weaker commodity prices, after data from China data raised fears about weakening demand.
Investors are awaiting the British employment report as well as consumer prices data later this week to gauge the state of the labour market and inflation.
The data could offer clues on whether the Bank of England opts for a second consecutive 50 basis points rate hike at its September meeting.
AstraZeneca gained 2.3% after the drugmaker said its cancer drug, Enhertu, developed with Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo delayed the progression of a form of advanced breast cancer in previously treated patients.