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.