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FTSE 100 Slides On Weak Data

U.K. stocks were moving lower on Friday as investors reacted to weak economic data and news of tighter lockdown restrictions in Europe and parts of Asia.

EU leaders are mulling internal border closures due to rising infections and death rates. China reported 103 new infections, the country's 11th day with more than 100 confirmed cases.

The benchmark FTSE 100 dropped 34 points, or half a percent, to 6,681 after losing 0.4 percent on Thursday.

BP Plc fell 2.2 percent and Royal Dutch Shell gave up 1.6 percent as oil prices slipped from the 11-month highs reached last week amid worries over the resurgence of coronavirus infections in the world's second-largest oil consumer, China.

Healthcare group Mediclinic declined 1.6 percent after the company noted continued pressure on profits in the past quarter.

In economic releases, U.K. retail sales recovered in December but the pace of growth was much slower than expected, data released by the Office for National Statistics showed.

The retail sales volume gained 0.3 percent month-on-month, reversing a 4.1 percent decline seen in November. However, the pace of growth was weaker than the economists forecast of +1.2 percent.

On a yearly basis, retail sales growth improved to 2.9 percent from 2.1 percent in November. Economists had forecast an annual growth of 4 percent.

Another report showed that the U.K. budget deficit widened to the third highest level on record in December.

Public sector net borrowing, excluding public sector banks, totaled GBP 34.1 billion in December, which was GBP 28.2 billion more than in the same period last year.

This was both the highest December borrowing and the third-highest borrowing in any month since monthly records began in 1993.

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