Drugmakers, oil majors drag FTSE 100 lower; Avast surges



(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window)

* Cybersecurity firm Avast surges on merger talks

* Experian jumps on raising annual outlook

* UK jobs surge in June with a record 7.3% pay rise

* FTSE 100 down 1.1%, FTSE 250 off 1.0% (Updates to close)

By Amal S

July 15 (Reuters) - London's FTSE 100 marked its worst day in a week on Thursday dragged down by pharmaceutical and energy stocks, while UK-based cybersecurity firm Avast jumped to the top of the index amid merger talks.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index .FTSE ended 1.1% lower, weighed by drugmakers .FTNMX201030 which fell 2.9%, with AstraZeneca AZN.L and GlaxoSmithKline GSK.L among the worst performers.

Avast Plc AVST.L jumped 18.1% and was the top gainer on the FTSE 100 after revealing it was in advanced talks over a merger with peer NortonLifeLock Inc NLOK.O .

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said the central bank would assess inflation data for things that could be temporary before taking a call on raising rates, while a roaring jobs market in June also showed growing inflation pressures from rising wages.

The BoE could also stop its government bond purchases early due to an unexpectedly sharp rise in inflation, interest rate-setter Michael Saunders said, the second top BoE official in two days to signal a possible reining in of its stimulus.

"There are a couple of central banks including the Bank of England where the narrative has shifted with noises starting around ending the measures. They are slowly prepping the markets before dropping the support as inflation figures are out of control," said Keith Temperton, equity sales trader at Forte Securities.

The FTSE 100 has gained 8.5% so far this year helped by record low interest rates, but a rise in inflationary pressures coupled with risks arising from a jump in local coronavirus infections have slowed the rise of the blue-chip index, leading it to underperform its wider European peers.

Energy sector .FTNMX601010 dropped 2.5%, with oil majors Royal Dutch Shell RDSa.L and BP BP.L down 2.4% and 2.9%, respectively.

The mid-cap FTSE 250 index .FTMC fell 1.0% as fears over rising inflation and a jump in virus cases affected the more domestically focused stocks.

Among stocks, the world's largest credit data company Experian EXPN.L was the top boost to the FTSE 100, up 2.8%, after it raised its annual outlook and posted a 31% jump in its first-quarter revenue.



UK inflation pattern Link



Reporting by Shashank Nayar and Amal S in Bengaluru; editing
by Vinay Dwivedi



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