MONDAY MARKET CLOSE: City rattled by concerns over China

Imports to China, the world's second-largest economy, fell. Picture: Getty

Imports to China, the world's second-largest economy, fell. Picture: Getty

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Commodity stocks were hit by a fresh fall in oil prices and fears over the pace of global economic growth on the back of disappointing data from China.

Glasgow-headquartered engineer Weir Group was the worst performer in the top-flight index after broker Cowen & Company cut its price target on the shares, which ended the day down 5.3 per cent, or 97p, at 1,741p.

Figures showing that China’s imports shrank unexpectedly in November, while export growth slowed, fuelled concerns about an economic slowdown, while oil prices shed more than $2 a barrel to hit a new five-year low.

Jasper Lawler, analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “The FTSE 100 is yet to break the October peak despite improving fundamentals, including last weeks’ manufacturing and services PMI results, as the strong international exposure of its components – especially within the commodity sectors – continue to drag.”

The FTSE 100 Index dropped 70.69 points to end the first session of the week at 6,672.15.

Oil major BP fell 7.2p to 417.3p after losing a US Supreme Court battle over Gulf of Mexico oil spill compensation claims, many of which it said had no connection to the disaster.

Closer to home, news that Marks & Spencer has been hit with gremlins that have disrupted its online retail operations sent its shares down 2.7 per cent, or 13.4p, to finish at 483.5p, but internet-based rival Asos rose 58p, or 2.5 per cent, to 2,379p.

Other online stocks that made strong gains included appliances retailer AO World, which surged 9.4 per cent, or 24.5p, to 285p, while internet grocer Ocado ended the day up 12.8p, or 3.8 per cent, at 350.7p.

However, shares in fashion retailer SuperGroup fell 66.5p, or 7.2 per cent, to 855.5p as investors awaited half-year results that are due on Thursday.

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