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AstraZeneca, commodity-linked shares drag London's FTSE 100 down

FILE PHOTO: Signage for the London Stock Exchange Group is seen outside of offices in Canary Wharf in London

By Khushi Singh and Bansari Mayur Kamdar

(Reuters) -Britain's FTSE 100 closed at its lowest level in nearly seven weeks on Monday, hurt by a sell-off in heavyweight AstraZeneca and commodity-linked stocks.

The FTSE 100 dipped 0.4%, while the mid-cap FTSE 250 rose 0.2%, outpacing its commodity-focused peer.

Oil major BP shed 2.4% as crude prices fell over 1% on easing fears about potential supply disruptions as diplomatic efforts in the Middle East intensified.

Drugmaker AstraZeneca fell 3.2%.

"AstraZeneca is also acting as a drag even as CEO Pascal Soriot hits back at reports he is to step down, describing them as 'fake news'," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, in a note.

Leading sectoral losses, precious metal miners shed 3.2% as gold prices weakened after U.S. 10-year Treasury yields briefly hit 5% before retreating.

Industrial metal miners eased 1.2% tracking softer copper prices as sentiment was hit by China's property crisis, dwindling hopes of stronger stimulus measures in the world's top consumer of industrial metals, and the conflict in the Middle East.

"People are considering a slowdown in economic output and the potential for recession does weigh on commodities," said Danni Hewson, head of financial analysis at AJ Bell.

Homebuilder Vistry tempered its annual profit forecast and said it would cut about 200 jobs as part of a restructuring, taking the shares down 5.8% to the bottom of the FTSE 250.

"It is the undermining consumer confidence that people are putting off moving and buying a home especially if they're a first-time buyer," added Hewson

Keller Group jumped 16.5%, leading gains on the mid-cap index after the engineering contractor said it expects its annual operating profit to be materially ahead of market expectations.

Indivior added 5.2% after the drugmaker said it would pay $385 million to settle a lawsuit.

Meanwhile, ratings agency Moody's revised Britain's outlook to "stable" from "negative" on Friday, saying policy predictability has been restored after heightened volatility last year.

(Reporting by Khushi Singh and Bansari Mayur Kamdar in Bengaluru; Editing by Janane Venkatraman, Eileen Soreng and Jonathan Oatis)