FTSE 100 slips as dollar strength hits metals

The Bank of England is on deck to deliver its policy decision, after the US Federal Reserve delivered an interest-rate increase Wednesday.

The FTSE 100 edged down 0.1% to 6,940.06, but gains for financials and healthcare shares helped put a floor on the decline. Advancers included British Gas parent Centrica, with shares up 2.5% after the company raised its 2016 financial targets.

The British blue-chip benchmark on Wednesday shed 0.3%.

Mining shares were losing the most Thursday as dollar-denominated prices for metals were driven down sharply. Gold dropped more than 2%, trading at levels last seen in early February, while silver lost more than 3%.

Those losses came as the ICE US Dollar late Wednesday climbed above 102 and hit its highest since 2003. That move came after the Fed raised its key short-term interest rate to a range of 0.5%-0.75% and signaled a more aggressive approach in 2017.

Among miners, precious metals producer Fresnillo slid 7.5%, Randgold Resources slumped 6.4%, and BHP Billiton fell 2.2%.

Diversified miner Rio Tinto shares fell 1.5%, while Glencore gave up 2.2%. Anglo American shares were 1.8% lower, and Antofagasta lost 2.4%.

The BOE will release its last monetary policy decision of 2016 on Thursday, when it is expected to keep interest rates unchanged. The decision by policy makers, led by Governor Mark Carney, will be released at 12 p.m. London time, or 7 a.m. Eastern Time.

The pound was buying $ 1.2518, compared with $ 1.2617 late Wednesday.

In data reports, a reading on November retail sales will be released by the Office for National Statistics at 9:30 a.m. London time. Analysts polled by FactSet were looking for an increase of 5.9% on year-over-year basis.

This article was first published by MarketWatch

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