London Markets: FTSE 100 ends lower for 4th day in a row as miners slump after China data

U.K.’s benchmark stock index closed with a tiny loss on Tuesday, with miners weighing the most after Chinese data suggested economic growth in the world’s second-largest economy is slowing down.

The losses, however, were kept in check by shares of Tesco PLC rallying after a planned merger cleared a major hurdle.

What markets are doing: The FTSE 100 index UKX, -0.01% fell 0.76 point, or 0.01%, to end at 7,414.42, extending its stumble lower to a fourth straight day.

The pound GBPUSD, +0.2364% traded at $1.3145, up from $1.3115 late Monday in New York. Against the euro, sterling GBPEUR, -0.6227%  bought €1.1171, pulling back from €1.1240 late Monday.

What’s moving markets: The overall market was weighed by miners, topping the list of decliners after data showed industrial output and housing sales slowed in China in October. China is a major user of natural resources, such as metals, so any indications of a slowdown in growth tend to weigh on miners.

Copper HGZ7, -1.80%  tumbled 1.9% to $3.06 a pound.

The pound briefly fell back below $1.31 earlier in the session after annualized consumer-price inflation held at a five-year high of 3%, just shy of a FactSet consensus estimate of 3.1%.

The October inflation report showed growth in the input prices that factories pay slowed to its lowest level since immediately after last year’s vote by British citizens to exit from the European Union, known as Brexit. The inflation report was the first since the Bank of England raised interest rates for the first time in a decade earlier this month.

The currency has been under pressure after a Sunday Times report over the weekend said 40 Conservative members of Parliament have agreed to sign a letter of no confidence in Prime Minister Theresa May. The U.K. government said late Monday that parliament will get a chance to vote on whether to accept the final Brexit deal.

On Tuesday, parliamentary lawmakers were discussing a bill to repeal the law that allowed the U.K. to join the EU.

Check out: Is British leader Theresa May on her way out? Why that’s the fear—and why it matters

What strategists are saying: “Stocks have taken a turn for the worst this afternoon, as the U.S.-led negativity helping to drag the likes of the FTSE and DAX into the red. The latest U.K. CPI reading may have provided a brief respite from the sharp upward trajectory of inflation, yet for all extents and purposes we remain well above the 2% target set by the chancellor,” said Joshua Mahony, market analyst at IG, in a note.

“The Bank of England’s interest-rate hike earlier this month now looks more likely to be a ‘one and done’ move, with the next hike not expected until late 2018 at the earliest,” said Jake Trask, FX research director at OFX.

“The feeling is that inflation has now peaked in the U.K., easing the spending squeeze on consumers. Attention will now turn to tomorrow’s wage growth data, to see if the spread of CPI over wages narrows,” he added.

Opinion: Brexit hard-liners are selling England by the pound

Stock movers: Among miners, shares of Rio Tinto PLC RIO, -2.89% RIO, -0.89% RIO, -2.76%  lost 2.9%, Anglo American PLC AAL, -2.81%  fell 2.8% and Glencore PLC GLEN, -2.53% GLCNF, -3.14%  gave up 2.5%.

ITV PLC ITV, -2.60%  shares were chopped down 2.6% after the broadcaster said its total external revenue dropped 1% in the first nine months of this year, but said it remains on track to meet full-year guidance.

Tesco shares TSCO, +6.24% TSCDY, +6.70%  popped up 6.2% after the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority provisionally cleared a merger between Tesco and wholesaler Booker Group BOK, +6.75% Booker shares off the FTSE 100 climbed 6.8%.

Meanwhile, J Sainsbury PLC SBRY, +0.66% JSAIY, +1.07%  rose 0.7% after Kantar Worldpanel said the grocer’s sales rose 2.6% in the 12 weeks to Nov. 5, the stronger performance of the so-called Big Four supermarkets.

Vodafone VOD, +5.12% VOD, +5.93%  jumped 5.1% after the mobile-services company raised its outlook for fiscal 2018, with pretax profit for the first half rising 55% year-over-year.

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