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FTSE 100 watch: Footsie turns lower as tobacco stocks weigh

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The UK benchmark index has fallen marginally into the red in today’s session, following a positive start to today’s trading. The FTSE 100 is currently under pressure from tobacco stocks which have retreated on the back of worries over a possible menthol cigarettes ban in the US.

Index turns lower after upbeat start

As of 12:45 GMT, the Footsie had given up 11.46 points to stand 0.16 percent lower at 7,093.88. The index was trading marginally in positive territory earlier in the session, finding support in a rise in oil, which has fuelled demand for shares in Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSA) and BP (LON:BP), currently trading 1.36 percent and 1.93 percent higher, respectively.

Outside the energy sector AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) is outperforming the broader market after posting  upbeat trial results for its diabetes treatment Farxiga and reporting that one of its oncology treatments was granted priority review in the US. The pharmco’s shares are currently trading 1.59 percent higher at 6,270.00p.

Tobacco shares weigh on FTSE 100

Shares in British American Tobacco (LON:BATS), however, are weighing on the index following a report in the Wall Street Journal that the US Food and Drug Administration was planning to ban menthol cigarettes.

“BAT is the most exposed name to the potential risk,” wrote Richard Taylor, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, as quoted by Bloomberg. The Financial Times meanwhile reports that according to analysts, US menthol cigarette sales contribute about 25 percent of BAT’s group profit and up to 60 percent of its US volumes. BAT’s share price is currently 9.79 percent down at 2,990.00p, while shares in FTSE 100 peer Imperial Brands (LON:IMB) are 3.73 percent worse off at 2,647.50p.

The FTSE 100 was 0.40 percent down at 7,076.86 points as of 13:08 GMT on Monday, 12 November 2018.

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