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FTSE 100 drops after disappointing Centrica, BAE reports

FILE PHOTO: A broker looks at financial information on computer screens on the IG Index the trading floor in London, Britain February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/File Photo

(Reuters) - British blue-chip shares fell on Thursday after downbeat reports from energy supplier Centrica and defence company BAE Systems, while a stronger pound weighed on multinational healthcare and consumer-goods companies.

Purplebricks was a major loser. The online estate agent shed a quarter of its value after cutting its revenue target.

The FTSE 100 was down 0.7 percent, lagging its European peers by 0937 GMT. The FTSE 250 was little changed.

Centrica dropped 11 percent after warning that a national price cap on energy bills would hit its 2019 results.

BAE Systems fell 6.6 percent. The company said German moves to block exports to Saudi Arabia could hurt its deals with Riyadh and weigh on its financial performance and relationships.

Barclays outperformed the index and rose 3.5 percent as full-year profit rose at its investment bank.

Tobacco company Imperial Brands shed 4 percent as the stock traded ex-dividend. In addition, CMC Markets analyst David Madden said a risk-on attitude among investors was leading them to dump defensive stocks such as tobacco.

AIM-listed Purplebricks plummeted nearly 26 percent, on course for its worst day ever, after it cut its full-year revenue forecast and said the chief executives of its British and U.S. units would leave the company.

Sterling rose after British finance minister Philip Hammond said talks with Brussels had been constructive and parliament might vote on a revised Brexit deal as early as next week. The stronger pound helped keep mid-caps afloat; they are considered a better gauge of the British economy than the FTSE 100.

However, recruiter Hays skidded 7 percent to the bottom of the mid-cap index. The company warned its growth would be curbed by lower contractor extensions in Germany, its biggest market.

Just Eat slid 4 percent after a Financial Times report that its rival Uber would cut fees for food delivery in UK and Ireland.

Gambling software developer Playtech jumped 6.1 percent after announcing a share buyback and guiding for higher core earnings in2019.

Barclays, other big banks lag FTSE since Brexit referendum:

(Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi and Muvija M in Bengaluru; editing by Larry King)