FTSE down almost 60 points

The London market tumbled 1% today as miners continued to be weighed down by fears over potential curbs to Chinese growth.

The London market tumbled 1% today as miners continued to be weighed down by fears over potential curbs to Chinese growth.

Investors were also wary of the latest US interest rate decision and the first State of the Union address by President Barack Obama.

The FTSE 100 Index slumped to its lowest level so far this year at one point before closing 59.4 points down at 5217.5.

Investor sentiment has been given a knock recently with persistent concerns over the impact of potential lending curbs in China.

America's Dow Jones Industrial Average was also on the back foot in early trading - down 0.3%.

In currencies trading the pound was up against the dollar at $1.62 and also rose to 1.15 against the euro.

The Federal Reserve's interest rate meeting occupied investors' minds, while President Obama was also in the spotlight, particularly in the wake of last week's proposal to impose restrictions on Wall Street's more risky trading activities.

This shock announcement triggered the recent sell-off in world markets and left banking stocks sharply lower.

Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland were back under pressure today, declining 9.15p to 266.85p and 1.81p to 32.99p respectively. Lloyds Banking Group lost 0.87p to 50.84p and HSBC fell 10.6p to 663p.

The mining sector littered the fallers board in London amid concerns that China is looking to cool its economy.

Fresnillo led the declines - down 26p at 672p - followed by Anglo American, which fell 78p to 2379p.

In corporate news, Morrisons shareholders failed to be stirred by the announcement that Dalton Philips, a former executive for US giant Wal-Mart, is to be the chain's new boss. Shares lost 1.9p to 292.8p.

Man Group was the biggest loser - off 17.1p to 246p - as Credit Suisse cut its target price for the hedge fund group's stock.

Any cheer for investors came from outside the top flight after well-received trading updates from drinks firm Britvic and pubs group Greene King.

The latter rose 9.6p to 442.6p after it reported a strong Christmas, although it added that sales had moderated since then due to January's big freeze.

Investec Securities upgraded its profit estimates by 4% following the update.

Meanwhile, analysts said a return to growth in the water and sports drinks category represented a significant trend for Robinsons firm Britvic, which saw its shares top the FTSE 250 Index risers board - up 7% or 27.3p to 431.7p - after an 11% rise in first quarter sales.

WH Smith shares were also higher, up 8.4p to 498.4p, after the retailer reported another steady trading performance.

The company said like-for-like sales were down 4%, but this was offset by continued margin improvement in its high street and travel divisions.

The biggest Footsie risers were Resolution up 1.9p at 81.55p, SABMiller up 26p at 1693p, British American Tobacco up 25p at 2070p and ICAP up 4.3p at 384.3p.

The biggest Footsie fallers were Man Group down 17.1p at 246p, Royal Bank of Scotland down 1.81p at 32.99p, Tullow Oil off 56p at 1160p and Fresnillo down 26p at 672p.

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