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Britain’s FTSE edges lower as pharmaceuticals weigh again

Britain’s FTSE edges lower as pharmaceuticals weigh againBritain’s FTSE edges lower as pharmaceuticals weigh again

(ADVISORY- Follow European and UK stock markets in real time on
the Reuters Live Markets blog on Eikon, see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets)

* FTSE 100 down 0.1 pct

* Trade quiet ahead of Yellen Jackson Hole speech

* U.S. election uncertainty weighs on drugmakers

* Glencore bounces back

By Alistair Smout

LONDON, Aug 26 Britain’s top share index edged
lower on Friday, set to finish the week with falls as recent
weakness in the pharmaceuticals continued, with investors wary
over political risk in the sector.

By 0900 GMT, the FTSE 100 was down 4.20 points, or
0.1 percent, at 6,812.70, down 0.7 percent for the week and set
for a second straight weekly fall.

Investors were awaiting a speech by Federal Reserve Chair
Janet Yellen at a summit in Jackson Hole, due at 1400 GMT,
before making strong bets on the market, traders said.

The pharmaceutical sector was the biggest drag on the index
for a second straight day, trimming 6.7 points off the index.

It has been under pressure since U.S. Presidential candidate
Hillary Clinton criticised the pricing of a high-profile drug.

Shire fell 1.2 percent, but remains up 41.5 percent
since lows in February. After a strong run, analysts said that
the sector was now vulnerable.

“Investors are pulling funds from what now seems to be one
of the most politically-sensitive industries in the run up to
the US presidential election,” said Jasper Lawler, market
analyst at CMC Markets, in a note.

CRH fell 0.9 percent, after posting a 2.9 percent
rise following results on Thursday.

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The building materials firm raised its dividend for the
first time in 7 years, and many brokers lifted their target
prices on the stock.

However, Societe Generale cut its rating on the stock to “hold” from “buy”.

“CRH reported a good set of numbers yesterday… But we
believe the current stock price already factors in the medium
term growth potential,” analysts at SocGen said in a note.

BAE Systems rose 2.1 percent, benefiting from an upgrade by
Berenberg.

Glencore bounced back from falls after results
earlier this week. It was up 2.6 percent, the top FTSE 100
riser, but remained down for the week as a whole.

Copper prices also stabilised after falls this week, while
the price of zinc hit a 15-month high. In all, miners rose 1.5 percent.

The FTSE was unaffected by data showing that GDP was in-line
with preliminary readings, and growth held up well ahead of
Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.

Among mid-caps, the Restaurant Group rose 7 percent
after beating expectations with results, while Amec Foster
Wheeler rose 5.9 percent after an upgrade to “overweight” by
Morgan Stanley.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Ralph Boulton)

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