Traders kept the champagne on ice as the pursuit of a new record for London’s FTSE 100 Index faded due to mining weakness and worse-than-expected US data.
The slump of 22.87 points to 6,855.1 came a day after the top flight index broke through the 6,900 barrier for the first time in 14 years, raising hopes that the London market will finally match Wall Street in setting a new record.
Miners put paid to those hopes after the price of gold slid to a fresh three-month low and Chinese iron ore prices continued their recent slump.
Tony Cross, market analyst at Trustnet Direct, said: “Fresnillo has finished the day as the worst performer with shares down more than 4 per cent as gold prices continue to unwind - optimism is building over the Ukrainian cease-fire agreement, but with iron ore prices languishing too it’s the sector as a whole that’s left struggling.”
Silver miner Fresnillo and Randgold Resources were the two biggest fallers in the top flight, down 41.5p at 868p and 203p to 4,737p respectively. Heavyweight stock Rio Tinto also eased 20.5p to 3,221p.
Other shares under pressure included Royal Bank of Scotland after analysts at Berenberg said the part-nationalised bank was still 30 per cent overvalued, despite showing an improvement in trading in recent quarters. It retained its “sell” rating and warned the shares were expensive given the legacy risks. They were 7.9p lower at 347p.
The risers board was led by BP after the oil giant slumped 6 per cent on Thursday following the gross negligence ruling on the Gulf of Mexico disaster by a judge in Louisiana.
Charles Stanley analyst Tony Shepard said the penalties should not endanger BP’s dividend as they would be payable over a number of years. BP shares were up nearly 3 per cent or 11.8p to 466.8p.