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FTSE drops as investors dump defensives for banks and miners after Trump win

November 10, 2016

 

Britain's top share index fell on Thursday in choppy trade as gold miners and defensive stocks slipped amid expectations of a big U.S. economic stimulus based on President-elect Donald Trump's pledges of tax cuts and infrastructure spending.

Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE fell 1.2 percent, breaking a three-day climb and retreating from its highest level since late October.

 

Safe-haven plays that surged in the turmoil after the U.S. election dropped back, with precious metals miners Randgold Resources (RRS.L) and Fresnillo (FRES.L) slumping more than 10 percent as gold fell on a strengthening dollar.

 

Stocks traditionally perceived as defensive plays such as tobacco makers fell. Imperial Brands (IMB.L) and British American Tobacco (BATS.L) lost 4.9 percent and 6.1 percent respectively. Utility National Grid (NG.L) also dropped 6.1 percent after reporting earnings.

 

"A lot of defensive, decent-yielding stocks ... have just been left behind by this market," said Jeremy Steinson, director at Patronus Partners.

 

"Post-Trump coming in as well, it's the part of the market that doesn't look particularly interesting."

 

Top faller was Mediclinic (MDCM.L), which tanked 15.7 percent and marked its biggest one-day loss ever after poorly received results. Earnings were hit after the acquisition of Al Noor negatively affected its operating profit.

 

On the positive side, copper miner Antofagasta (ANTO.L) jumped 11.5 percent. The mining .FTNMX1770, industrial metals .FTNMX1750, construction and materials .FTNMX2350 sectors rose 0.9-11.1 percent. 1.1 11.1

 

Copper prices jumped to the highest levels in more than a year on the back of Trump's infrastructure spending promises, while bond yields also rose as his policies are seen as inflationary.

 

"The Republican dominance of the next U.S. government increases the likelihood that inflation will be higher in the coming year, and even growth might receive a boost from more government spending and tax cuts," strategists at Julius Baer said in a note.

 

"We believe the rally (in metals) was primarily driven by bets on Trump's promise to massively boost U.S. infrastructure spending."

 

Defence firm BAE Systems (BAES.L) rose 4.6 percent as traders bet that European governments might increase arms spending after Trump's win. Trump has said he might not be willing to protect NATO allies that failed to spend enough on their own defence.

 

Markets are also betting that the U.S. Federal Reserve will still hike rates in December in the wake of Trump's election.

 

Banks rose, with Barclays (BARC.L), which has substantial U.S. exposure, up 4.3 percent, as higher interest rates stand to ease concerns over bank profitability.

 

"The outlook for interest rates has been muddied by the Donald Trump victory, but markets continue to price in a December rate hike from the Federal Reserve," said Jasper Lawler, market analyst at CMC Markets.

 

One stock which is set to benefit from higher rates in the United States is insurer Prudential (PRU.L).

 

It rose 7.4 percent after it agreed to sell its life insurance unit in South Korea.

 

Kit Rees & Alistair Smoult

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