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* BAT up on sales jump, 2 billion share buyback
* UK economy shrank less than expected in December
* FTSE 250 set for best week this year
* FTSE 100 down 0.9%, FTSE 250 down 1.0%
Feb 11 (Reuters) – British stocks fell on Friday, following global markets on bets of more aggressive U.S. rate hikes after inflation data, but the mid-cap index was set for its best week ever. 2022, as data showed the UK economy had a smaller hit. of the Omicron variant.
The FTSE 100 slipped 0.9%, while the mid-cap 250 index fell 1.0%. The blue-chip FTSE 100 has also consistently outperformed the pan-European STOXX 600 index so far this year, given its heavily weighted banking companies and commodities stocks.
The FTSE Mid 250 index rose 1.3% for the week, the best weekly performance so far this year.
The data showed the UK economy contracted 0.2% less than expected in December and suggested that despite the setback caused by the Omicron variant, GDP grew strongly in the fourth quarter.
“The last month of the year hasn’t been all dark and gloomy…and looking at the last quarter as a whole, there’s plenty to be positive about,” said Danni Hewson, financial analyst at AJ Bell.
Hewson added that the question now is whether 2022 will see the UK shake up after the December blow or whether supply constraints and rising prices will keep household consumption, which has been a key driver of GDP growth.
The pessimistic mood overnight spread on Wall Street as investors digested the possibility of aggressive rate hikes after hawkish comments from St. Louis Federal Reserve Chairman James Bullard following the US inflation reading highest in nearly 40 years.
Shares of British American Tobacco rose 0.3%, after posting a full-year increase in revenue as well as a dividend increase and a share buyback program worth 2 billion pounds (2 .71 billion dollars) for 2022.
Valve maker Spirax-Sarco slipped 3.0% to the FTSE 100 low after Jefferies cut its target price.
($1 = 0.7381 pounds) (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Rashmi Aich)