A SELL-OFF in commodity stocks once again prevented the Footsie from enjoying gains seen elsewhere in Europe.
The latest evidence of a Chinese slowdown weighed on the big miners and kept the FTSE 100 in the red, down 8.03 points at 6,829.12.
Jasper Lawler, market analyst at CMC, said: “Chinese consumer prices came in at a five-year low. This comes on the back of falling import and export data that together suggest all is not well in the world’s biggest global consumer of industrial metals.”
Antofagasta and Rio Tinto were each down more than 3 per cent, at 693.5p and 2,992.5p respectively.
The oil sector was also on the back foot as Brent Crude retraced slightly on recent gains, with BP down 2 per cent or 10.8p to 446.4p and Royal Dutch Shell off 27p to 2245p. Tullow Oil fell 7.7p to 414.3p while BG Group was down 28.7p at 934.3p.
But Tesco and Morrisons shares were given a boost by latest supermarket industry data today as the wider stock market remained weighed down by fears over the eurozone.
Till-roll figures from Kantar Worldpanel showed Tesco’s first sales growth since January last year and a decline of just 0.4 per cent over the same period for Morrisons, offering hope to the beleaguered business.
Tesco was nearly 4 per cent or 8.45p higher to 241.85p amid signs that the strategy of new chief executive Dave Lewis is paying off. Bradford-based Morrisons climbed 3 per cent, or 6.1p, to 184.1p after the better-than-expected Kantar figures.
Fellow retailer Marks & Spencer also received a boost, topping the FTSE 100 performers with rise of 5 per cent, or 23.2p, to 498.7p.
After the market closed, Sky announced that it had won the UK rights to 126 live English Premier League matches a season from 2016-17 to 2018-19, strengthening its offering at a cost of £1.4 billion a year.