Oil Stocks, GSK Weakness Pull FTSE 100 Down; Deliveroo jumps

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* Deliveroo’s fourth quarter order growth leaps

* Premier Foods is the top mid-cap gainer on strong earnings outlook

* Unilever renounces to buy the health branch of GSK

* FTSE 100 down 0.3%, FTSE 250 stable

Jan 20 (Reuters) – London’s FTSE 100 fell slightly on Thursday on weakness in oil stocks and GlaxoSmithKline, while food delivery platform Deliveroo surged on growth in orders reaching the peak of its range of prospects.

The blue-chip index fell 0.3%, dragged down by oil majors Royal Dutch Shell and BP which followed lower crude oil prices.

GlaxoSmithKline fell 1.9% and was the second biggest loser on the FTSE 100 after consumer goods giant Unilever effectively ended its pursuit of a business on Wednesday that the pharmaceutical company plans to divest later this year.

However, the blue-chip index is set to gain for the fifth week in a row, helped by strength in commodity-related stocks and banking stocks, significantly outperforming the pan-European STOXX 600.

Food delivery company Deliveroo rose 5.6% on strong order value growth in the fourth quarter, pushing it to the top of its outlook range for the year.

“The effective lockdown conditions created by Omicron have undoubtedly helped (Deliveroo), but with restrictions beginning to be lifted, this supportive trend is quickly moving into the rearview mirror,” said Russ Mould, Chief Investment Officer at AJ Bell.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced an end to COVID-19 measures on Wednesday, including mandatory face masks in England.

The domestically focused mid-cap index remained stable.

Primark owner Associated British Foods fell 1.5% after saying the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus reduced shoppers in December.

Premier Foods was the biggest mid-cap gainer, up 6.4%, and said it expects full-year earnings to beat market expectations as its Mr Kipling brand achieved its best Christmas sales. (Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

Steve R. Hansen