UK shares fall as recovery worries hit bank, energy stocks

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* FTSE 100 down 0.6%, FTSE 250 off 0.3%

March 23 (Reuters) – British shares fell on Tuesday, dragged down by energy and bank stocks, as new lockdowns and slow vaccine rollouts across Europe stoked fears over the pace of economic recovery, while Cineworld rose after plans to reopen its theatres.

The commodity-heavy FTSE 100 index was down 0.6%, with oil heavyweights BP and Royal Dutch Shell being the biggest drags on the index.

Bank stocks, including HSBC Holdings, Barclays Plc , and Lloyds Banking Group, were also among the biggest laggards, falling between 0.7% and 1.1%.

Britain’s jobless rate unexpectedly fell to 5.0% in the three months to January, when the country entered a new COVID-19 lockdown, official figures showed, missing forecasts of a rise to 5.2% in a Reuters poll.

The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index fell 0.3%, hit by losses in industrials stocks.

AstraZeneca Plc fell 1.0%, after a U.S. health agency said the drugmaker may have provided an incomplete view of efficacy data on its COVID-19 vaccine from a large scale trial in the United States.

Bucking the broader subdued sentiment, Cineworld rose 4.4% after it said it will re-open U.S. theatres in April and its UK halls a month after, in time to screen big-budget movies including “Godzilla vs. Kong”, after prolonged shutdowns due to the COVID-19 crisis.

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