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British midcaps post weekly losses on Brexit woes, dour outlook

11/27/2020 | 12:13pm EST
A street cleaning operative walks past the London Stock Exchange Group building in the City of London financial district, whilst British stocks tumble as investors fear that the coronavirus outbreak could stall the global economy, in London

(Reuters) - Domestically-oriented British midcap stocks rose slightly on Friday, but marked their first weekly loss this month as frictions in the Brexit process and a gloomy economic outlook due to the coronavirus weighed on sentiment.

The mid-cap FTSE 250 rose 0.3% and lost 0.2% for the week, while the blue-chip FTSE 100 ended the day and the week a touch higher.

The European Union and Britain said there were still substantial differences over a Brexit trade deal, with three main issues of contention - fishing, state aid and how to resolve any future disputes.

The EU chief negotiator prepared to travel to London in a last-ditch attempt to avoid a tumultuous divorce, with just five weeks left until the deadline for UK's exit.

"Mask-to-mask talks will be held over the weekend--but this is not yet the last possible moment for a deal, and a deal can (by EU tradition) only occur at the last possible moment," Paul Donovan, chief economist of UBS Global Wealth Management said.

Appetite for locally-focussed stocks was battered through the week by updates from the finance and health ministers over the COVID-19 pandemic's economic impact, while doubts over the efficacy of a leading vaccine candidate also weighed.

A Bloomberg report said AstraZeneca was likely to run an additional global trial to assess the efficacy of its COVID-19 vaccine using a lower dosage, amid questions over the results of its late-stage study.

Among individual stocks, retailer JD Sports Fashion was among the worst performing blue-chip stocks for the week in the face of strict restrictions on activity even after the end of a nationwide lockdown.

Drugmaker Indivior underperformed its midcap peers for the week with a 23.9% loss after it was slapped with a 1.07 billion pound ($1.43 billion) claim by its former owner Reckitt Benckiser.

(Reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Shailesh Kuber)

By Devik Jain and Ambar Warrick

© Reuters 2020
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ASTRAZENECA PLC 0.78% 7722 Delayed Quote.4.62%
EURO / BRITISH POUND (EUR/GBP) 0.06% 0.8895 Delayed Quote.-0.48%
INDIVIOR 9.90% 129.8 Delayed Quote.9.56%
JD SPORTS FASHION PLC -2.43% 819.4 Delayed Quote.-2.35%
RECKITT BENCKISER GROUP PLC 0.19% 6224 Delayed Quote.-5.04%
UBS GROUP AG -1.45% 13.22 Delayed Quote.7.58%
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