By Johann M Cherian and Shristi Achar A
(Reuters) – British shares closed lower on Monday, with investors treading cautiously ahead of interest rate decisions this week, while shares of Home REIT hit record low after a short-seller questioned its financial status.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 slipped 0.4% to mark its weakest close in nearly three weeks.
Investors were gearing up for monetary policy decisions from the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of England on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, with both the central banks widely expected to raise interest rates by 50 basis points.
“Markets are in a wait-and-see mode this week, with CPI from the U.S. and the Fed. The Fed drives everything and the market will be looking very closely at these two important data points,” said Andrea Cicione, head of strategy at TS Lombard.
Meanwhile, data showed Britain’s economy rebounded in October a little more strongly than expected from September when output was affected by a one-off public holiday to mark the funeral of Queen Elizabeth, but a recession remained on the cards.
Reports on inflation, manufacturing activity and unemployment due this week will give investors a better picture of the British economy.
“In the UK, good data is actually good because of fears that the economy can actually be in a worse situation of a recession than the U.S.,” said Daniela Hathorn, senior market analyst at Capital.com.
The mid-cap FTSE 250 fell 0.5% to a one-month closing low.
Home REIT tumbled 17.2% to an all-time low after the British housing provider said its auditor was carrying out “enhanced audit procedures” after short-seller Viceroy Research questioned its financial status.
London Stock Exchange jumped 3.0% after Microsoft Corp agreed to buy a near 4% stake in the bourse operator as part of a deal to migrate the exchange’s data platform into the cloud.
(Reporting by Johann M Cherian and Shristi Achar A in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Alison Williams)