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Europe: Oil prices, China jitters weigh on Britain's blue-chips


[LONDON] British shares closed slightly lower on Monday, weighed down by energy and mining stocks as oil prices fell on prospects of higher US output and metals traded lower on weakening demand from China.

Britain's blue-chip FTSE 100 index closed down 0.3 per cent at 7,386.92, slightly stronger than other major European indices as the euro weakened marginally and sterling edged up.

Miner Antofagasta fell 3.6 per cent, with rivals Anglo American and Fresnillo down 2.2 and 1.9 per cent respectively.

Software company Micro Focus, which completed an acquisition of much-larger Hewlett Packard Enterprise's software assets earlier this year, led the decliners with a fall of 3.7 per cent after a downgrade to "hold" from Deutsche Bank.

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The bank cited the potential for "further execution risk, lack of clarity around further future M&A and a lack of meaningful organic growth potential".

Healthcare was the top performing sector. GlaxoSmithKline rose 1.8 per cent after UBS raised its rating on the stock to "buy" thanks to its "high yield and ample discount".

Online grocer Ocado stood out among FTSE mid-caps with a jump of 7.3 per cent after Credit Suisse said a 20 per cent fall in the stock over the past four weeks was overdone.

It was also helped by a Swedish press report that it was about to reach an agreement with ICA Gruppen for a so-called dark store.

Just Eat is poised to join the FTSE 100 when quarterly reshuffle results come out on Wednesday, thanks to rapid growth in the food delivery app whose market cap has ballooned to overtake Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury's.