UK Markets closed

UK stock indexes close down after Powell's hawkish remarks

FILE PHOTO: A worker shelters from the rain as he passes the London Stock Exchange in London

By Johann M Cherian and Shristi Achar A

(Reuters) -Britain's FTSE 100 closed down on Tuesday after hawkish comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell spurred risk-off moves globally, but weakness in the pound limited losses in the exporter-heavy index.

The FTSE 100 slipped 0.1% and the mid-cap FTSE 250 fell 0.5%.

The pound slid 1.4% to hit a two-month low as the dollar climbed after Powell said the U.S. central bank is prepared to move in "larger steps" if the "totality" of incoming information suggests tougher measures are needed to control inflation.

The weakness in sterling boosted shares of dollar earners, such as AstraZeneca and Unilever.

"Powell saying that there needs to be more impact with interest rate hikes, and needs to see them held for longer in order to restore price stability has created a little bit of a risk off sentiment," said Daniela Hathorn, senior market analyst at

A Bank of England (BoE) rate-setter Catherine Mann warned that the pound could be vulnerable to Fed and European Central Bank (ECB) outlooks.

Industrial miners also weighed on the commodity-heavy index, down 2.9%, pressured from weak import data from top-consumer China. [MET/L]

Shares of Fresnillo slid 6.8% to the bottom of FTSE 100 after the miner reported lower full-year core profit and gold production, dragging precious metal miners down 4.4%.

John Wood Group surged 12.3% after the oilfield services provider said it was considering rejecting the latest buyout proposal from private-equity firm Apollo Global Management Inc.

Premier Foods Plc shares rose 10.4% after the Mr Kipling maker increased its annual profit outlook, as its grocery business witnessed strong demand.

(Reporting by Johann M Cherian and Shristi Achar A in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips, Uttaresh Venkateshwaran and Sharon Singleton)