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FTSE ends down on sterling strength after inflation jumps

FILE PHOTO: A man walks through the lobby of the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain, August 25, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett/File Photo/File Photo

By Helen Reid

LONDON (Reuters) - British shares dipped on Tuesday as sterling strengthened after British inflation shot past the central bank's target for the first time in three years.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index (.FTSE), with its majority foreign-currency earning constituents, tends to gain from a weaker pound, which lifted it to record highs earlier this year.

The index fell 0.7 percent, further weighed down by a broader pull back in equity markets on worries over the timing needed to implement pro-growth reforms in the United States.

Sterling hit a three-week high after data showed inflation last month shot past the Bank of England's 2 percent target for the first time since the end of 2013.

Consumer prices leapt 2.3 percent, their biggest increase since September 2013 and up sharply from 1.8 percent in January, the Office for National Statistics said.

Miners Glencore (GLEN.L), Rio Tinto (RIO.L) and BHP Billiton (BLT.L) were the three biggest fallers on the FTSE as copper hit a one-week low after talks to resolve a strike at the world's biggest copper mine in Chile were set to resume and as another huge mine in Indonesia restarted production.

But precious metals miner Fresnillo (FRES.L) rose, topping gainers on the index, underpinned by a rally in gold prices to three-week high.

Britain's mid-cap index (.FTMC) hit a record high in early trade, before turning negative. The index ended down 0.9 percent.

Workwear and hygiene company Berendsen (BRSN.L) fell 5.3 percent after Barclays cut the stock to 'underweight' from 'equal weight', citing execution risk and questioning the merits of the company's capex step-up.


(Additional reporting by Danilo Masoni; Editing by Louise Heavens and Julia Glover)