London Markets: U.K. stocks drift before trade talks as GDP edges lower in August

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U.K. stocks were steady Thursday as data showed the British economy limping along as the prospect of Brexit approaches while investors were also apprehensive about U.S.-Chinese trade talks in Washington D.C.

U.K. GDP fell 0.1% in August after upward revisions to July, the National Statistics Office reported. In the three months to August, GDP grew 0.3%

“Even if GDP levels are unchanged in September relative to August, that would be sufficient to produce a 0.5% q-o-q print for the third quarter as a whole (which remains our forecast),” said George Buckley, European economist at Nomura. “Though we can expect this strength to reverse in Q4 as stockpiling turns to inventory unwind following the Brexit deadline – depending of course on how things are resolved (or otherwise) at the end of this month.”

Also read: The U.K. economy is lurching toward Brexit

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar are scheduled to hold a private lunch meeting Thursday in northwest England. Analysts have low expectations for the talks, to be held near Liverpool.

Talks also are scheduled for Washington, D.C., between the U.S. and China delegations.

The U.K. FTSE 100 UKX, +0.04%  declined 0.14% to 7156.77, while the pound GBPUSD, +0.2458%  rose slightly to $1.2236.

The mining sector, which is heavily leveraged to the Chinese economy, advanced, with Anglo American AAL, +3.28%  , Antofagasta ANTO, +3.68%   and Glencore GLEN, +2.67%  each rising over 3%.