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London Markets: London stocks struggle while U.S. markets are closed for July 4 holiday

London Markets

Workers prepare an outdoor seating area at a pub along the Old Main Line canal in Birmingham on July 2, 2020.


AFP via Getty Images

London stocks fell on Friday, with the index set to underperform its European rivals for the week, as weak oil prices weighed on major energy names, and alongside concerns that next week’s summer statement from the U.K. Chancellor will lack big tax cuts.

The FTSE 100
UK:UKX
dropped nearly 1% to 6,180.18, while the pound
US:GBPUSD
was flat at $1.2454. U.S. markets are closed on Friday for the Independence Day holiday, something that was keeping volumes pinned down in Europe.

Energy names were also lower as oil prices
US:CL
fell about 1%. Shares of BP
US:BP
UK:BP
and Royal Dutch Shell
US:RDS
UK:RDSA
stock fell more than 1% each.

Banks also bore the brunt of losses, with Royal Bank of Scotland
US:RBS,
UK:RBS,
Lloyds Bank
US:LYG
UK:LLOY
and Barclays
US:BCS
UK:BARC
all down more than 2% each.

The Financial Times reported that Chancellor Rishi Sunak won’t offer up big tax cuts next week, but he is expected to make an announcement on supporting jobs retention plans. Saturday will mark the reopening of U.K. pubs, restaurants and cinemas, though the city of Leicester will remain locked down over a COVID-19 outbreak. The U.K. is also expected to announce on Friday that visitors from up to 75 countries may be exempt from quarantines, which includes returning U.K. vacationers.

The U.K. services purchasing managers index posted 47.1 in June, up sharply from 29.0 in May and the highest for four months. But it was in line with an earlier ‘flash’ figure of 47.0 in June.

Pub chain Whitbread
UK:WTB
was one of the gainers, up 0.8%, while Just Eat Takeaway
UK:JET
rose 2%, after German-based rival Delivery Hero
DE:DHER
jumped nearly 5% on a positive trading update.

Shares of Rolls-Royce Holdings
UK:RR
led the decliners with a 5% drop.

Shares of Land Securities Group
UK:LAND
rose 1.5% after the commercial-property developer and investment company said rental collection and footfall improved in June, and that it plans to restart paying dividends from November.

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