FTSE 100 flat as stronger pound, healthcare stocks weigh; Ryanair gains
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* Consumer staples fall on stronger pound
* Miners gain as copper prices jump
* Ryanair gains on higher air traffic forecast
* FTSE 100 flat, FTSE 250 adds 0.2% (Updates to close)
By Amal S
July 26 (Reuters) - London's FTSE 100 index ended flat on Monday as weakness in healthcare stocks and a stronger pound offset gains in commodity-linked shares, while Ryanair climbed on strong summer bookings.
The benchmark FTSE 100 .FTSE ended flat, with healthcare .FTNMX201030 and consumer staple stocks .FTNMX452010 down 1.9% and 1.8% respectively.
Dollar-earning consumer staples stocks, including Unilever ULVR.L , Reckitt Benckiser Group RB.L , and Diageo Plc DGE.L fell between 0.6% and 2.6% due to the stronger pound and were among the top drags on the index.
"We're probably going to see a choppy market as we get through the week. The big question mark here is the Fed meetings as we could see Treasury yields really swing off on that. There's a potential that we could have a hawkish surprise and that could disrupt the risk appetite a little," said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.
The FTSE 100 has traded in a tight range since April, on concerns around higher local COVID-19 infections and a potential pullback of pandemic relief measures by the central bank, while receiving some support from positive corporate earnings.
Providing some relief, however, government figures showed Britain's coronavirus cases had fallen to the lowest daily total since July 4.
The domestically focussed mid-cap index .FTMC added 0.2%.
London-listed shares of Ryanair RYA.L jumped 4% after it nudged up its forecast for full-year traffic on strong summer bookings.
"This demonstrates how resilient demand for foreign holidays remains, particularly among the fully vaccinated cohort which now have a little more freedom to travel," said Danni Hewson, financial analyst at AJ Bell.
Miners Antofagasta ANTO.L , Rio Tinto RIO.L and Anglo American AAL.L , meanwhile, were among the top gainers on strong base metal prices.
Meanwhile, the energy sector .FTNMX601010 gained 2.67%, with Royal Dutch Shell RDSa.L up 2.5% after the oil major announced plans to develop a new oilfield in the Gulf of Mexico, its first major project to get the go-ahead since a Dutch court ordered it to accelerate carbon emissions reduction targets.
Personal Goods subindex underperforms FTSE 100 since March Link
Reporting by Shashank Nayar and Amal S in Bengaluru Editing
by Uttaresh.V and Mark Potter
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