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UPDATE 2-UK stocks under pressure from weak data on the economy
Published at 22/01/2021 at 17:12

(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window)

* PMI spirals down in January

* UK retail sales down more than expected

* Cineworld down as Bond movie rescheduled

* FTSE 100 sheds 0.3%, FTSE 250 off 1.0%

(Updates to market close, adds analyst comments)

By Shivani Kumaresan

Jan 22 (Reuters) - London-listed shares fell on Friday as data showed UK business activity declined sharply in January due to severe curbs imposed to stem coronavirus infections, while a dip in oil and copper prices hit energy and mining stocks.

A preliminary IHS Markit/CIPS composite Purchasing Managers' index (PMI) fell to 40.6 in January, down from 50.4 in December, with services companies in Britain hit the hardest.

"The longer these lockdowns continue, the more painful it will be and the more longer-term the damage will become," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA.

Another set of data showed British retailers struggled to recover in December from a lockdown the previous month, marking a weak end to their worst year on record.

The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index shed 1%, while the FTSE 100 index fell 0.3%, marking its second straight week of losses.

A slide in the pound checked losses in the exporter-heavy FTSE 100, but oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell

and miner Anglo American Plc were under pressure from weakness in commodity prices due to worries that new pandemic restrictions in China would curb demand.

The FTSE 100 has recorded consistent monthly gains since November, supported by hopes of a vaccine-led recovery, but it has recently underperformed its U.S. and European peers, which have been boosted by hopes of more U.S. stimulus.

Meanwhile, the number of new COVID-19 infections in Britain is estimated to be shrinking by as much as 4% a day, a sharp reversal in the trajectory of the pandemic.

In company news, cinema chain Cineworld Plc fell 4.7%, after the global release of the James Bond movie "No Time to Die" was postponed to October from April.

(Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich, Shailesh Kuber and Jane Merriman)

((Shivani.Kumaresan@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 8780;))

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