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FTSE dips amid fears of trade war escalation; BA owner falls

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FTSE dips amid fears of trade war escalation; BA owner falls
FILE PHOTO: Traders looks at financial information on computer screens on the IG Index trading floor in London, Britain February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson   -   Copyright  Simon Dawson(Reuters)
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By Julien Ponthus

LONDON (Reuters) – The UK’s blue-chip index edged lower in early Friday trading as investors awaited news on whether the United States would impose new tariffs on Chinese imports while a data breach at British Airways triggered a fall in its owner’s shares.

The FTSE 100 <.FTSE> was down 0.1 percent at 7,310 points by 0808 GMT. That was its lowest level since mid-April and translates to a 4.9 percent decline this year.

“Concerns over emerging markets and another U.S.-China tariff clash are pushing traders towards risk-off sentiment into the weekend,” analysts at Accendo Markets said in a note.

Caution was also palpable ahead of the publication of U.S. non-farm payroll data, one of the most-watched economic indicators worldwide.

Shares in British Airways’ parent International Airlines Group <ICAG.L> fell 2.7 percent after the UK flag carrier reported the theft of financial and personal data of potentially hundreds of thousands of customers.

Among mid-caps, British pub operator Greene King <GNK.L> surged 11 percent after reporting a boost in sales thanks to exceptionally warm weather and the soccer World Cup.

The company, which owns ale brands such as Greene King IPA, Old Speckled Hen and Abbot Ale, said it sold 3.7 million pints of beer during England’s seven World Cup matches.

Shares in Ashmore <ASHM.L> rose 2 percent after the emerging markets asset manager published full-year results.

UK-focused oil company EnQuest <ENQ.L> fell more than 12 percent after announcing plans for a rights issue to finance acquisition of an oilfield from BP <BP.L>.

Online retail trading platform Plus500 <PLUSP.L> lost about 4 percent to 15.44 pounds after Playtech <PTEC.L> said it has sold its entire 10 percent shareholding for about 176 million pounds, equating to 15.50 pence per share.

(Reporting by Julien Ponthus; Editing by David Goodman)

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