THURSDAY MARKET CLOSE: FTSE drifts lower after ECB rate hold

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The mining sector was nonplussed by a long-awaited package of measures by China designed to boost flagging growth in the world’s second-biggest economy.

With the European Central Bank (ECB) sitting on its hands and declining UK service sector growth, the FTSE 100 Index slipped 9.9 points to 6,649.14.

Chris Beauchamp, market analyst at IG, said: “‘Buy the rumour, sell the fact’ was back in operation after several days of talk surrounding Chinese stimulus. When the actual news arrived, the reaction was one of studied disappointment, and we’re seeing the [mining] sector broadly in the red.”

Rio Tinto was 61p lower at 3,316p, while Anglo American dipped 27.5p to 1,516.5p. But Aberdeen Asset Management, which is seen as being highly sensitive to Asian economies, took its lead from stock markets in Japan and Hong Kong, which hit three-week highs. It added 18.5p to 433.5p, a rise of more than 4 per cent.

B&Q-parent Kingfisher was making gains after it revealed talks to buy France’s Mr Bricolage in a deal worth £227 million. Chief executive Sir Ian Cheshire said it represented “an attractive growth opportunity” and shares lifted 3 per cent, or 13p to 444.2p.

Tullow Oil was also on the up after broker UBS upgraded it to “buy”. The driller was the biggest riser in the top flight, jumping more than 6 per cent to 800p.

Homewares chain Dunelm was a big gainer in the FTSE 250 after posting a 5 per cent hike in third quarter like-for-like sales. Shares rose nearly 4 per cent, or 34.5p, to 1,006p.

Online takeaway service Just East delivered a strong start to trading in its £1.5 billion debut – the biggest UK technology initial public offering in eight years. Shares were priced at 260p, but closed nearly 9 per cent higher at 283p.

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