London Markets: EasyJet, British Airways parent rise in London, but FTSE 100 slips

LONDON (MarketWatch) — U.K. stocks fell Tuesday after eight gains in a row for the benchmark FTSE 100, ahead of the release of economic-growth figures for the fourth quarter.

The FTSE 100 UKX, +0.03%  was off 0.1% at 6,846.30, with retailers sagging after Morgan Stanley said it is retaining its cautious stance on non-food retailers. Shares of Dixons Carphone PLC   DC., -3.44%  dropped 3.3%, sitting at the bottom of the benchmark, as the broker cut its rating on the electronics store to underweight from equalweight.

But topping the index were shares in EasyJet EZJ, +4.44%  and International Consolidated Airlines PLC IAG, +1.91% EasyJet shares climbed 4.3% after the air carrier posted a 3.8% rise in first-quarter sales to 931 million pounds ($ 1.41 billion).

IAG shares were up 2% as the British Airways parent said the board of Irish airline Aer Lingus EIL1, +0.50%   is set to recommend its takeover bid. IAG raised its bid on Monday to 2.55 euros a share ($ 2.86), valuing the deal at €1.36 billion.

At 9:30 a.m. London time, investors will receive the preliminary reading of U.K. fourth-quarter GDP. Analysts are looking for the economy to have expanded by 0.6% from the third quarter, or 2.8% on the year, according to FactSet. Ahead of the report, the pound GBPUSD, +0.14%  was trading at $ 1.5095, compared with $ 1.5082 late Monday.


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