British equities started the week on a lower note as escalating tensions in the Middle East caused market participants to tread cautiously, while downbeat corporate earnings also weighed.

As of 7:13 GMT, the resource-heavy FTSE 100 index had declined by 0.4%, while the mid-cap FTSE 250 was down 0.2%.

Precious metal miners led sectoral losses, sliding 2.9%, while heavyweight oil and gas shares dipped 1.6%, tracking lower crude prices as market participants dialled back risk premiums amid news of escalating tensions in the Middle East and fears of a wider regional conflict.

On the data front, figures on U.S. retail sales for March are due Monday, while British consumer prices and retail sales data is due later in the week.

Shares in PageGroup shed 6.4% after the recruiter reported a nearly 13% fall in group gross profit in the first quarter.

Ashmore lost 4% after the fund manager said its assets under management dropped in the first quarter. (Reporting by Pranav Kashyap in Bengaluru; Editing by Mrigank Dhaniwala)