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London's FTSE 100 fell this morning as heavyweight banking stocks and a stronger pound weighed on the index.
The blue-chip index dropped 0.2 per cent in early trading, as swathes of the British economy were set to reopen after months of Covid restrictions.
From today in England, gatherings of up to 30 people will be allowed outdoors, while cafes, bars and restaurants will reopen for indoor services.
Retailers, homebuilders and personal goods makers were among the biggest FTSE 100 gainers.
Meanwhile, the domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 advanced 0.1 per cent, boosted by leisure and retail stocks.
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The morning's biggest winner was City investment manager M&G, who rose 4.3 per cent, followed by fashion house Burberry, up by 2.3 per cent.
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BT Group and engineering firm Renishaw also rose 2.1 per cent and two per cent respectively.
HSBC was the morning's biggest faller, dropping by 1.1 per cent, followed by Intertek's 0.6 per cent hit.
Meanwhile, credit checker Experian and oil giant BP both dipped by 0.38 per cent and 0.34 per cent respectively.
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Around the world
Asian stocks turned mixed today as Chinese retail sales missed expectations and Singapore closed schools to fight a Covid outbreak.
Chinese retail sales rose 17.7 per cent in April compared to a year ago, short of forecasts for a 24.9 per cent jump.
"Industrial activity remains robust, supported by strong external demand for Chinese goods as vaccinations accelerate in developed countries," CommSec economist Ryan Felsman said.
"But continuing global supply chain disruptions - including a semiconductor shortage - and surging commodity prices have sapped some momentum as production costs increase."
Japan's Nikkei lost 0.9 per cent, having touched its lowest since early January last week, while Euro Stoxx 50 futures added 0.3 per cent.
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