UK shares dip as British inflation data reignites taper fears

(Reuters) -UK shares fell on Wednesday, dented by industrial and consumer discretionary stocks, after data showed British inflation accelerated to a 9-year high, reigniting concerns about a sooner-than-expected policy tightening by the Bank of England.

FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians leave and enter the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain August 15, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo

The blue-chip index slipped 0.1%, with food delivery company Just Eat dropping 3.5% to the bottom of the index following a media report that Amazon and rival Deliveroo will offer free delivery to prime subscribers in the UK.

Deliveroo shares were up 0.9%.

Losses in the index, however, were limited by decent gains by heavyweight oil majors BP, Royal Dutch Shell and life insurers.

The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index declined 0.3%.

Consumer prices last month rose by 3.2% in annual terms, its biggest monthly jump in at least 24 years, largely due to a one-off boost reflecting the “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme that pushed down restaurant meal prices last year.

The data came on the heels of a strong jobs report, with the focus now shifting to BoE’s policy meeting due next week as policymakers remain split on whether basic conditions for a rate hike are met by the economy.

“The key question for investors is how this impacts the timing of the first rate hike. The bank will be reluctant to move until it is also confident that the economy has successfully negotiated the end of the furlough scheme,” said Hugh Gimber, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management.

“With inflation running hot and wages on the rise, the bank looks quite likely to be one of the first major central banks to hike rates next year.”

A Reuters poll forecasts the BoE will raise borrowing costs by end-2022, earlier than previously thought, and there is a chance it comes even sooner. [nL8N2QB1N2]

Among other stocks, Darktrace jumped 10.3% after the cybersecurity company increased its revenue growth forecast for its 2022 financial year.

Tullow Oil added 5.6% after the Africa-focused oil and gas company swung to a profit in the first half.

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