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FTSE 100 Drifts Lower Ahead Of Budget

U.K. stocks were subdued on Tuesday as weaker commodity prices pulled down miners and energy companies.

Rishi Sunak's budget on 3 March will likely contain a range of measures to help support the recovery of the U.K. economy, but tax increases are also on the cards to start paying down the massive national debt built up in the coronavirus crisis, which has topped £2 trillion for the first time in history.

The benchmark FTSE 100 was down 0.2 percent at 6,577 after closing up 1.6 percent on Monday.

Miners Anglo American and Glencore dropped 1 percent and half a percent, respectively while oil & gas firm BP Plc fell 2.4 percent and Royal Dutch Shell lsot 1.8 percent.

Meggitt was down 0.7 percent after it signed a long-term, multi-million agreement with Boeing for the supply of cockpit indicators on the 737 MAX.

Hedge fund manager Man Group rose 0.6 percent. After reporting a slide in its 2020 core pretax profit, the company said it is entering 2021 with good momentum.

Fresnillo fell over 1 percent despite maintaining its outlook for 2021 attributable gold and silver output.

Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey rallied 2 percent after its 2020 pretax profit fell 68 percent in line with expectations.

In economic releases, U.K. house price inflation accelerated in February, defying expectations for further slowing, survey data from the Nationwide Building Society showed.

The house price index rose 6.9 percent year-on-year following 6.4 percent rise in January. Economists had expected the rate to ease to 5.6 percent.

Compared to the previous month, the HPI rose 0.7 percent in February after a 0.2 percent drop in January.

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