UPDATE 1-Ex-dividend trading trips FTSE 100; National Express tumbles

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* AstraZeneca, BP, Shell trade ex-dividend

* Both benchmark indexes snap four-day gaining streak

* National Express slides on first-half pre-tax loss

* Just Group, Topps Tiles jump on upbeat forecasts

* FTSE 100 down 0.8%, FTSE 250 off 0.3% (Adds comments, updates prices)

By Sagarika Jaisinghani

Aug 13 (Reuters) – The FTSE 100 fell for the first time in five sessions on Thursday as a clutch of blue-chip firms traded ex-dividend, while National Express Group slumped after reporting a pre-tax loss for the first half of the year.

The bus company tumbled 12% and was on track for its worst day in four months as it said it was bracing for more pressure on its finances over the next year.

A 0.8% decline for the FTSE 100 pulled it back from three-week highs, with firms including AstraZeneca Plc, BP Plc, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Legal & General Group Plc trading without entitlement to a dividend payout.

The mid-cap FTSE 250 was off 0.3% after ending Wednesday at a two-month high with investors betting on more fiscal and monetary stimulus to lift the world’s sixth-largest economy from a deep coronavirus-induced recession.

“It seems that investors aren’t feeling quite so confident in the FTSE now that the dust has settled on the latest GDP data,” said Connor Campbell, analyst at Spreadex.

The FTSE 100 has bounced from its March lows but has underperformed its U.S. and European peers as data points to a much bigger hit to the UK economy from the health crisis.

Although key sectors such as housing have begun to show signs of a rebound, analysts have warned that the mini-boom could go bust once the government’s jobs subsidy programme closes in less than three months’ time and a tax cut expires at the end of March.

Global market sentiment also wobbled on Thursday following a strong finish on Wall Street overnight as focus turned to U.S.-China talks on Saturday to review the progress of their Phase 1 trade deal.

Insurer Just Group and tile retailer Topps Tiles both jumped more than 13% on upbeat forecasts. (Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Subhranshu Sahu)

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