WEAK manufacturing data from the United States cast a shadow over the afternoon session in London, with the FTSE 100 index surrendering its early gains.
The Richmond Fed manufacturing index posted a disappointing reading, which took the shine off up-beat data on the Chinese economy.
The Footsie fell 25.73 points or 0.4 per cent to close at 6,597.44, despite the figures from China giving mining stocks a boost.
Brenda Kelly, senior market strategist at IG Index, said: “Despite the deluge of royal-baby-related optimism and the boost from Beijing, the FTSE 100 still lacks the impetus to break and close above the 6,650 level, with investors likely to be sitting on the sidelines as the earnings season goes at full pelt.”
Miners dominated the risers’ board, with Glencore Xstrata surging 13.7p to 282.7p and Rio Tinto rising by 97.5p to 3,000p.
Budget airline EasyJet was among the fallers – down 3.7 per cent or 51p at 1,336p ahead of today’s trading update – after analysts at HSBC cut their rating on the stock and warned that demand for flights could be hit by the heat wave at home.
Sage edged ahead by 6.2p to 359p after the accounting software provider said the good performance at its British and Irish division had continued.
Drug maker AstraZeneca also managed to climb, up 14.5p to 3,290.5p, despite a further two staff in Shanghai being questioned by police. Astra reiterated that the probe was a local matter and unrelated to bribery accusations at rival GlaxoSmithKline, which fell 21.5p to 1,672.5p.
Industrial giant Croda – which makes ingredients for cosmetics groups including Estee Lauder and L’Oreal – fell by 120p or 4.7 per cent to 2,449p after its second-quarter profits missed City forecasts.
NEW YORK: The S&P 500 snapped a four-day winning streak last night, a day after closing at a record high, as solid earnings helped the Dow industrials end slightly higher.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 22.19 points, or 0.14 per cent, to end at 15,567.74 while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped 3.14 points, or 0.19 per cent,closing at 1,692.39. The Nasdaq Composite Index declined 21.11 points, or 0.59 per cent, to finish at 3,579.27.