FTSE 100 falls but Berkeley lifts housebuilders

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The UK stock market fell in early trade but positive results from Berkeley lifted shares in housebuilders.

The benchmark FTSE 100 share index dropped 48.51 points, or 0.7%, to 6,704.42.

Mining shares were among the biggest fallers, with BHP Billiton down 3%, after the price of metals dropped.

In the FTSE 250, shares in Berkeley Group rose 4.6% after the housebuilder reported a 34% rise in half-year profits to £392.7m.

However, the company also said reservations were down 20% over the period, which it blamed on the higher stamp duty for buy-to-let landlords and uncertainty caused by the Brexit vote.

Berkeley's share performance lifted other firms in the sector, with Barratt Developments up 1.5% and Taylor Wimpey climbing 0.5%.

On the currency markets, the pound rose 0.1% against the dollar to $1.2608, and was 0.2% higher against the euro at €1.1830.

Oil prices fell back slightly after two days of strong gains that were triggered by Opec's decision to cut production next year.

The price of Brent crude slid 0.4% to $53.75 a barrel, while US crude fell 0.3% to $50.89.

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