London’s FTSE 100 Index was under more pressure today as recovery doubts put pressure on blue-chip stocks.
A mix of poor economic data from China, a downgrade for major US bank Wells Fargo and disappointing retail sales figures at home knocked market sentiment.
The Footsie closed down 50.5 points at 5207.4, although US markets gained some ground in the afternoon amid better than expected results from the likes of fast food giant McDonald’s.
The top flight is now virtually back where it started on Monday and IG Index’s Philip Gillett said tomorrow’s first estimate for third quarter UK GDP - expected to confirm the country’s exit from recession – created the potential for a “volatile end to the week”
In London, mining firms were under early pressure on a stronger dollar, although most pulled back from earlier session lows. Lonmin was off 9p at 1682p after news of a 20% decline in fourth-quarter production. Gold miner Randgold Resources meanwhile shed 174p to 4391p.
Other leading fallers included oil services and production firm Petrofac, which shed 33p to 1030p after it said output would be at the lower end of expectations this year.
British Airways meanwhile was another prominent casualty, down more than 4% or 9p to 209.5p after disappointing results from US airline Continental in the previous session. Cruise ship giant Carnival was the leading Footsie faller, off 92p to 2061p.
Of the handful of Footsie stocks in positive territory most were in defensive sectors. Telecoms giant Vodafone was up 4.6p to 139.5p, while BT added 2p to 139.7p.
Lloyds Banking Group however pushed to the top of the risers board on hopes of backing for a major fundraising next week. Shares were up 3.3p to 94.8p or 4%.
Meanwhile, pub groups Punch Taverns and Enterprise Inns rose sharply in the FTSE 250 Index after the OFT ruled in the industry’s favour following a super complaint about beer ties from real ale campaign CAMRA.
The watchdog said it found no evidence that “tied” prices – where pub companies compel tenants to buy drinks from them – were harming competition for consumers.
Enterprise shares jumped 23% or 27.9p to 147p, while Punch rose 12.5p to 97.25p or 15%.
National Express shares were back under pressure after the company said full-year results were likely to be weaker than it previously expected. Shares in the takeover target fell by 18.5p to 397p.
The biggest Footsie risers were Lloyds up 3.3p at 94.8p, Vodafone ahead 4.6p at 139.5p, BT up 2p at 139.7p and Inmarsat up 7.5p at 567p.
The biggest Footsie fallers were Carnival down 92p at 2061p, British Airways off 9p at 209.5p, Old Mutual down 4.5p at 109.5p and Randgold Resources off 174p at 4391p.