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UPDATE 2-FTSE 100 falls as high yields weigh, but marks best week in 2 months
Published at 05/03/2021 at 17:13

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

* FTSE 100 up 2.3% this week

* House price growth slows in February

* Aggreko rises after backing buyout offer

* London Stock Exchange Group slumps on Refinitiv deal costs

* FTSE 100 down 0.3%, FTSE 250 off 1.6%

(Updates to close)

By Shivani Kumaresan and Amal S

March 5 (Reuters) - London's FTSE 100 ended down on Friday as concerns around U.S. bond yields and sluggishness in the British housing market outweighed strength in energy stocks and weakness in the pound.

But the blue-chip FTSE 100 index logged its best weekly gain in nearly two months as investors bet on an eventual reopening and recovery of the economy as COVID-19 vaccinations gained momentum.

The index ended 0.3% down, with industrials and consumer discretionary stocks, including Melrose Industries , BAE Systems , International Consolidated Airlines Group

, and Ashtead Group weighing the most.

Further losses were capped by oil majors Royal Dutch Shell

and BP , while export-oriented stocks benefited from weakness in the pound.

"I think the market is overall still distracted by the higher bond yields and right now that seems to dissipate the strength of Brent crude," said Connor Campbell, an analyst at Spreadex.

"The inflationary fears are sort of in the future rather than at present, so it'll be interesting to see how the markets react to the U.S inflation figures and Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey's talks in next week."

British house price growth slowed for a third month running in February, a further sign that the pandemic boom in Britain's housing market was fading, mortgage lender Halifax said.

The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index fell 1.6%, dragged down by consumer discretionary and real estate stocks. But it logged small gains for the week.

In company news, equipment rental company Aggreko rose 0.7%, as it backed a 2.32 billion pound ($3.22 billion) buyout offer from private equity firms TDR Capital LLP and I Squared Capital.

London Stock Exchange Group plummeted 14.4% to the bottom of the blue-chip index, even after announcing a 7% dividend increase as analysts grew skittish over costs associated with its $27 billion acquisition of data and analytics company Refinitiv.

(Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan and Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich, Aditya Soni and Alex Richardson)

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

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