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FTSE dips to two-week low, Rolls-Royce powers ahead

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FTSE dips to two-week low, Rolls-Royce powers ahead

FTSE dips to two-week low, Rolls-Royce powers ahead
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Toby Melville(Reuters)
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By Kit Rees

LONDON (Reuters) - The UK's top share index dipped on Thursday, touching a two-week low as shares in heavyweight miners dropped, though Rolls-Royce was a standout gainer after its results.

The blue chip FTSE 100 <.FTSE> index was down 0.7 percent at 7,601.66 points by 0849 GMT, ahead of an interest rate decision from the Bank of England and in line with a broader fall across European stocks.

With the European second-quarter earnings season in full swing, results were solidly in focus. Rolls-Royce <RRS.L> was the top FTSE gainer, up more than 5 percent after giving a half-year update.

The engine maker said that its 2018 results would come in at the upper half of its guidance range, after its civil aerospace and power systems businesses performed better than expected in the first half.

"Trouble with Trent 1000 series engines that power Boeing's Dreamliners continued to be a yoke around the engine maker's neck, but with the cash costs of the resulting engine maintenance issues in-line with previous guidance, traders are happy to look to the future rather than dwell on the past," said Artjom Hatsaturjants, research analyst at Accendo Markets.

Results also propelled shares in London Stock Exchange <LSE.L> higher. The exchange operator was up 3 percent after reporting a 21 percent rise in first-half adjusted operating profit to 480 million pounds ($629.09 million).

The LSE also said that it was activating contingency plans in case of a no-deal Brexit scenario next year.

Shares in Sage Group <SGE.L> rose 2 percent after the software company gave trading update for the third quarter.

However, a broader drop across cyclical stocks, or those more sensitive to the economic cycle, weighed on the FTSE. The materials sector took the most points off the index, around 14 points, as heavyweight miners Rio Tinto <RIO.L>, Glencore <GLEN.L> and BHP Billiton <BLT.L> fell between 2 percent to 2.8 percent as the underlying price of copper declined. [MET/L]

Likewise a weaker oil price put pressure on oil majors BP <BP.L> and Royal Dutch Shell <RDSa.L>. [O/R]

Banks were also on the backfoot. Recent tensions over global trade have soared the mood around risk assets, after the U.S. aimed to ramp up the pressure on China for trade concessions by proposing a higher tariff plan on Wednesday.

Resources companies also brought up the rear among British mid caps. Shares in Ferrexpo <FXPO.L> and Kaz Minerals <KAZ.L> were the biggest fallers, both tumbling more than 15 percent.

Kaz Minerals' shares dropped after the low-cost copper producer said it would expand into Russia with a $900 million copper deal. Ferrexpo slid after the iron ore pellet producer reported a weak set of results for the first half.

(Reporting by Kit Rees; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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