London’s recent blue-chip rally ran out of steam today after heavy falls for a number of leading mining stocks.
The FTSE 100 Index was 15.3 points lower at 4331.7 by mid-morning after climbing 2% yesterday on the back of better-than-expected company results across the Atlantic and a mood of optimism about economic prospects.
Profit-taking meant commodity stocks gave back some recent gains, with Anglo American down 53.5p at 1746.5p, Kazakhmys off 10p at 668.5p and BHP Billiton off 19p at 1416.5p.
Other areas lacked direction, with Barclays down 2.95p to 310.35p in the banking sector and Lloyds Banking Group ahead 0.7p at 69.5p.
Autonomy led the fallers board despite reporting record second quarter revenues and growth. Shares were down 13%, or 170p at 1148p, as analysts at Investec said the figures looked to be a “mixed bag”.
Elsewhere pubs firm Enterprise Inns lost more than 6% after it said business failures were still occurring at a rate 50% ahead of last year – costing it £2m (€2.3m) a month in lost income.
The fall of 8.25p to 127.75p came despite signs from the company that trading had stabilised in recent weeks.
It was a similar story from Mitchells & Butlers, which reported a pick-up in like-for-like sales amid encouraging trading at its community pubs.
Margins have also been helped by an unwinding in cost inflation, but this was not enough lift shares, which were down 10.5p at 250p.
Other pub chains were on the back foot, with JD Wetherspoon losing gains seen yesterday after a fall of 12.75p to 415.75p and Punch Taverns dropping 3.25p to 91.25p.
Dairy Crest lifted 6.25p to 317.25p after it posted a trading update in line with expectations and said profits were improving in dairies.