ASIAN-focused banks topped the fallers’ board as authorities in Hong Kong tried to clamp down on pro-democracy protestors.
Amid ugly scenes on the streets of the Pacific Rim financial centre, investors took a cautious line on HSBC and Standard Chartered.
David Madden, market analyst at IG, said: “The unease in the Far East has sent a shockwave around the world, and the London-listed finances houses have seen their shares take a tumble as both have large exposure to Asia.”
Standard Chartered said it temporarily shut ATMs and branches in five locations as part of a “business continuity plan”. The bank, whose shares fell 19p to 1,155.5p, has 6,000 staff across 78 branches in Hong Kong.
HSBC, which has 27,000 staff and around 100 branches in the city, was the biggest blue chip faller as shares slipped more than 2 per cent, off 15.2p at 635p.
The FTSE 100 was also hampered by the supermarket sector, killing off any attempt to rally and ensuring it closed 2.79 points lower at 6,646.6.
Tesco fell 3.75p to 187.8p and Morrisons dipped 1.3p to 169.7p after discount rival Aldi posted record profits and said it would open more UK stores. Sainsbury’s dropped 2.8p to 247.3p ahead of its trading update on Wednesday.
But shares in Compass were heading in the right direction after the world’s biggest caterer said it expected to post 4 per cent full-year organic sales growth, offset by the impact of a strong pound. The company lifted 23p to 984p, a gain of more than 2 per cent.
Outside the top flight, shares in Balfour Beatty slumped by 15 per cent after its third profits warning this year. Balfour, which is currently without a full-time chief executive and whose chairman has now resigned, fell 34.4p to 190.5p.