With metals prices taking a hit on euro fears, the industrial metals and mining sector was the worst performer of the day.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell to $7,584 a tonne in the afternoon, down from $7,730 at yesterday's close, as investors showed concerns that the escalating euro crisis could have an impact on demand.
FTSE 250 Ferrexpo led the decline, losing over 10%. First Quantum Minerals and Talvivaara Mining also fell into the red.
The gas, water and multituilities sector was making gains today, helped by some pleasing full-year figures from FTSE 100 constituent National Grid.
The power grid operator rose over 2% after saying it is well placed to deliver another good year after posting a small improvement in underlying profit at the half-year stage.
Underlying profit before tax for the six months ended 30 September rose 2% to £953m from £938m. While this was below some market expectations, investors seemed pleased after the board approved an increase of 8% in the interim dividend.
Full-year results from sector peer Centrica did not go down as well, with shares falling 0.1% after it said that full-year earnings may be marginally below current market expectations.
The Chairman of Centrica has called for an end to "Punch and Judy" arguments about energy prices as analysts calculated that up to £11bn has been wiped off the value of energy companies in two months, the Sunday Telegraph reported. Sir Roger Carr said any attempt at capping prices would lack logic and threaten the "financial fabric" of energy companies. The Labour opposition's threat to freeze prices after the next election has destroyed between £7bn and £11bn of shareholder [Sun 19:07]
Mining stocks were under pressure as commodity prices declined with precious metals peers Fresnillo and Randgold tracking gold and silver lower early on. As well, in a research note issued today analysts at Citi wrote that: "We remain underweight the gold and base metals stocks and our least favoured name among the large-cap miners is Anglo American." Acting as a backdrop, November manufacturing sector purchasing managers“ survey results in China, the Eurozone and the US all [2 Dec '13]
Markets lower ahead of data-heavy week; Non-farm payrolls, taper in focus; Investors shrug off positive manufacturing figures this morning; Broker downgrades hit Tesco, Aberdeen, Debenhams. [2 Dec '13]
Datafeed and UK data supplied by NETbuilder and Interactive Data.
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