FTSE stumbles as miners fall
LONDON – British shares retreated on Friday as miners pushed the blue-chip FTSE 100 index into negative territory following weak Chinese industrial data which reignited concerns over China’s economic slowdown.
The data showed that Chinese industrial profits fell 4.6 percent in October, declining for the fifth month in a row. Leading Chinese shares ended the session over 5 percent lower, also hit by a new regulatory crackdown.
The FTSE 350 mining index was the main sectoral decliner, falling 2.3 percent with Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, Antofagasta and Glencore all down between 1.2 percent to 2.2 percent.
Miner Anglo American was the biggest faller, sliding 6.4 percent after it said that it would close its Drayton coal mine in Australia after a state panel recommended that the government should block an expansion of the mine.
The FTSE 100 index was down 0.4 percent at 6,365.65 points by 0930 GMT, in line with European indexes.
“We are seeing lower volumes on the back of the fact that there will be still people off after Thanksgiving … so that will, likely, exacerbate some of the declines that we’re seeing this morning,” said Brenda Kelly, head analyst at London Capital Group.
The negative Chinese data also sent oil prices lower, with budget airline carrier easyJet up 1.4 percent on the back of lower fuel costs.
Defence stocks Rolls-Royce and Babcock were also in positive territory, advancing 1.1 percent and 0.7 percent respectively with analysts citing global security concerns as pushing the shares higher.
“All this geopolitical tension is helping these defence stocks, and the fact that they are going to increase the anti-terrorist spend is aiding and abetting these moves upwards,” London Capital Group’s Kelly said.
Among mid-caps, utility company Pennon Group rose 3 percent to touch six-month highs after reporting a 7 percent rise in first-half pretax profit. -Reuters