U.K. Stocks Slip From Near Record, While Tesco Jumps on Results

European Stocks Slide on ECB Taper Talk Fears

British shares fell, after their biggest two-day rally since July took them only points away of a record.

The FTSE 100 Index slipped 0.2 percent at 9:15 a.m. in London, following a 2.5 percent surge in the past two days. A sinking pound lifted the measure as much as 2 percent on Tuesday, sending it above its previous record close, before closing 0.4 percent below its April 2015 peak.

On Wednesday, Tesco Plc surged 7.7 percent, heading for its biggest jump since January of last year, after reporting first-half earnings that beat analysts’ estimates and setting a target to restore its battered profit margins. J Sainsbury Plc and Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc climbed more than 1 percent. Barclays Plc added 1.3 percent, helping a gauge of U.K. banks rise for a third day, after agreeing to sell its Egyptian business. HSBC Holdings Plc, which is also benefiting from the weaker pound, is trading at its highest price since June 2015.

United Utilities Group Plc and Severn Trent Plc slipped at least 1.8 percent after RBC Capital lowered the shares to the equivalent of sell ratings. Randgold Resources Ltd. and Fresnillo Plc dropped after gold posted its worst plunge in 14 months.

The FTSE 250 Index of mid-cap companies declined 0.5 percent, while the FTSE Small Cap excluding investment trusts index rose 0.9 percent. On Tuesday, the highs for the two gauges and the FTSE 100 surpassed their previous record closing levels, before paring their moves at the settlement. Had they all closed at peaks, it would have marked the first time since 1999 that they reached all-time highs simultaneously.

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