* Homebuilders fall as regulator suspects malpractice
* U.S. jobs data due later in the day
* Homebuilder Berkeley gains on maintaining dividend payout plan
* FTSE 100 up 0.6%, FTSE 250 gains 0.8% (Updates prices throughout, adds comments)
By Shashank Nayar
Sept 4 (Reuters) – The FTSE 100 reversed early losses on Friday as gains in mining and financial stocks pulled it back from a tech-fuelled plunge in the prior session, while housebuilders tumbled amid scrutiny from the UK’s competition regulator.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 rose 0.6%, but was set for a third straight week of decline, while the mid-cap index FTSE 250 added 0.9%. Major miners BHP Group and Rio Tinto rose on higher metal prices and improved prospects in China. MET/L
“The slip during the opening trade in the FTSE was a knee jerk reaction to the tech sell-off we saw on Wall Street yesterday. (However) we see investors turning more pragmatic and are re-entering the European markets on the back of cheap valuations as against the United States,” said Andrea Cicione, strategist at T.S. Lombard.
Shares of housebuilders Barratt Developments , Persimmon Plc , Taylor Wimpey and Countryside Properties fell between 1.0% and 3.5% after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it was investigating whether they might have broken a consumer protection law in relation to leasehold homes. Those losses pulled the wider housebuilding index down 0.14% to a near one-month low. FTSE 100 has recovered nearly 17% from its multi-year lows in March with the support of historical stimulus measures, but has lost nearly 23% so far this year.
All eyes are on the U.S. job growth data for August due later in the day. housebuilder Berkeley Group rose 0.9% after maintaining its annual profit forecast and plans to pay shareholder returns, as it benefited from a rebound in demand for houses after coronavirus-induced restrictions eased.