By Kit Rees
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's top share index declined on Monday as big miners and energy stocks fell, though investors welcomed GVC's U.S. betting deal with MGM Resorts.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 <.FTSE> index was down 0.3 percent at 7,679.86 points by 0852 GMT, in line with a broader decline among European stocks at the start of a week where central bank policymaking will be in focus.
Shares in GVC Holdings <GVC.L> were a bright spot, however, jumping 5 percent to the top of the index after the British gambling company agreed a joint venture with U.S. hotel and casino operator MGM Resorts International <MGM.N> to set up an online betting platform in the United States. [nL4N1UQ2RB] [nL5N1UQ1HU]
GVC's shares hit a record high and were on track for their best day since mid-May.
"A 50/50 JV would enable GVC to benefit from a much larger profit pool in future, and any initial operating losses would likely be compensated for by future market share gains," analysts at Berenberg said in a note.
Elsewhere, shares in Morrisons <MRW.L> were boosted by an upgrade from UBS to "buy" from "neutral", sending the stock 2.1 percent higher.
More broadly, a decline across materials stocks was the biggest weight. Shares in miners Rio Tinto <RIO.L>, Glencore <GLEN.L> and Anglo American <AAL.L> all fell 0.9-1.3 percent as the price of copper declined after economic data which may indicate slowing growth in top metals consumer China. [MET/L]
Heavyweight oil stocks BP <BP.L> and Royal Dutch Shell <RDSa.L> were also on the back foot, down 0.2 percent and 0.4 percent respectively.
Earnings reports were the main focus among smaller stocks, with brickmaker Ibstock <IBST.L> the biggest mid-cap <.FTMC> faller. It was down more than 11 percent after the company said it expects first-half core earnings to fall and warned of lower-than-expected brick output in the second half of the year. [nL4N1UQ30W]
Hiscox <HSX.L> and Senior <SNR.L> were at the top of the index, up around 9 percent after both companies gave updates.
Shares in underwriter Hiscox hit a record high after its first-half earnings beat expectations, boosted by higher premiums, while engineering firm Senior said its full-year guidance was unchanged. [nL5N1UQ1RD]
(Reporting by Kit Rees; Editing by Catherine Evans)