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FTSE 100 Drifts Lower After Weak Retail Sales Data

U.K. shares fell in choppy trade on Friday as investors awaited the outcome of the French presidential election and official data showed U.K. retail sales fell much more than expected in March, in a worrying sign for the economy amid rising prices since last year's Brexit vote.

Retail sales including automotive fuel decreased 1.8 percent sequentially in March, reversing a 1.7 percent rise in February.

The pound fell against the dollar as retail sales posted their biggest quarterly fall in seven years during the first three months of 2017.

The benchmark FTSE 100 was down 13 points or 0.18 percent at 7,105 in late opening deals after closing marginally higher in the previous session.

Restaurant Group shares lost 2 percent. The company said that Barry Nightingale, Chief Financial Officer, will step down from the board and leave the company with immediate effect.

Reckitt Benckiser Group fell 1.5 percent. The consumer products group delivered flat sales on a like-for-like basis in the first quarter, reflecting challenging market conditions in Europe and North America.

Resources stocks bucked the weak trend as metals prices climbed. Anglo American, Antofagasta, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Glencore rose 1-3 percent.

by RTT Staff Writer

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