FTSE follows downward trend

The FTSE 100 Index followed global markets lower today as commodity stocks came under pressure.

A 2% drop for the Dow Jones Industrial Average overnight sent Asian exchanges down while futures markets pointed to more US losses this afternoon.

The Footsie was 29.7 points lower at 3900.8 by mid-morning, with nerves over the forthcoming US results season also intensified by bigger than expected losses from miner Alcoa overnight.

In London this left mining heavyweights nursing share price falls, with Xstrata off 26p to 502p, Anglo American down 42p at 1254p and Vedanta Resources 18.5p cheaper at 724.5p.

Crude oil prices tracked stock market falls, with oil falling to around $48 a barrel. Among oil and gas stocks, BG Group was the leading Footsie faller, shedding 52p to 1014p. BP lost 10.25p to 435.25p, or 2%.

Financials saw a mixed session, with HSBC down 10.5p to 431.5p despite Goldman Sachs raising its target price. Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland recovered some ground lost yesterday, however, adding 2.6p to 160.3p and 0.5p to 27.2p respectively.

Other Footsie risers included foods group Compass, the beneficiary of an upgrade from Morgan Stanley after its better than expected results last week. This helped shares gain 5.75p to 316.75p, or 2%.

The quiet corporate diary meant JD Sports Fashion took centre stage with the publication of full-year results. The chain did not disappoint investors as a 9% rise in profits and a solid sales update sent shares up 8p to 367.5p after even bigger gains of almost 10% early on.

Set-top box maker Pace led the FTSE 250 Index risers board after it said last night that trading this year would be well ahead of previous hopes after winning new orders and customers. Shares soared 42% or 41.75p to 141.25p.

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