The London market suffered a fourth day of losses in a row today as economic concerns weighed on commodity and financial stocks.
The FTSE 100 Index shed 12.8 points to 4169.2 in a volatile session which began weakly after heavy falls on Wall Street overnight.
These came after the US Treasury’s decision to overhaul its bank bail-out plan unsettled markets.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 5% yesterday and was on the back foot again today after US unemployment claimants jumped to their biggest level since 2001’s 9/11 attacks.
In London mounting recession fears have hindered the progress of the blue chip index this week.
Miners were among the worst hit, with Mexico gold and silver miner Fresnillo the leading Footsie casualty, off 15.8p to 102.9p, or 13%.
Lonmin and Xstrata were down 64.5p to 944.5p and 48p to 952p respectively amid demand worries.
Oil prices falling to fresh lows below 55 dollars a barrel also hit the likes of prospectors Tullow Oil and Cairn Energy, down 23.5p to 453.5p and 67p to 1437p.
Among financial stocks under pressure in London, HBOS was down 6.8p at 90p, Barclays off 10.5p at 157.75p and Lloyds TSB 6.25p lower at 167p.
Inter-money broker Icap was also a prominent faller, down 29.5p to 255.25p, after Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock. London Stock Exchange meanwhile fell 60p to 519.5p after it halted a share buy-back scheme and said its market was likely to remain “difficult and uncertain”.
One bright spot for the market came from BT after the telecoms group announced aggressive cost cutting measures and its half-year figures came in slightly better than recently revised expectations.
BT shares were 9% or 10p higher at 122.5p, putting back some of the losses seen in the wake of a profits warning last month.
It was chased higher by information group Reed Elsevier, up 42.5p to 531.5p - almost 9% – after a reassuring trading update.
Outside the top flight, newspaper group Trinity Mirror rose 4.75p to 34p after it increased its target for annual savings. Analysts were also relieved that a trading update from the firm did not result in
further downgrades to forecasts.
Bookmaker Ladbrokes was higher, up 3.75p to 161.75p, after it said it remained on track to deliver on market expectations, despite some unfavourable sporting results in recent weeks.
But retailer DSG International – owner of PC World and Curry – fell after an insurer scaled back its cover against the firm being unable to pay its suppliers. The move by the world’s second largest trade credit insurer, Atradius is part of a wider review of the retail sector but it sent shares in DSG tumbling by a third, down 9p to 19.25p
The biggest Footsie risers were Man Group up 18.5p at 208.5p, Old Mutual ahead 4.6p at 54.1p, BT up 10p at 122,5p and Reed Elsevier ahead 42.5p at 531.5p.
The biggest fallers were Fresnillo off 15.8p at 102.9p, Icap off 29.5p at 255.25p, LSE off 60p at 519.5p and Standard Chartered which finished down 65p at 730p.