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Market falls on weak services data

London Stock ExchangeThur close: The FTSE 100 fell back into negative territory after downbeat economic data, including weaker than expected services activity.

Growth in the sector slowed to its weakest for almost three years, according to Markit/CIPS data.

The blue chip index closed down 16.6 points of 0.27% at 6,130.46.

Oil prices fluctuated throughout the day. Brent crude rose 0.48% to $37.11 per barrel in late afternoon trade, and West Texas Intermediate increased 0.83% to $34.95.

Housebuilders were in the red including Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon and Barratt Developments, after data on house prices was badly received.

Healthcare stocks, including GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca fell after credit rating agency Moody’s cut its outlook on the global pharmaceuticals industry to “stable” from “positive”.

Shares in Whitbread fell 6.15% after a weak fourth quarter performance.

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