Miners dragged under by China data

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Shares in London’s big miners were under pressure yesterday after a run of softer-than-expected Chinese data.

Figures released over the weekend suggested the world’s second-biggest economy weakened in May, with imports to China actually falling by a third of 1 per cent.

Michael Hewson, senior analyst at CMC Markets, said the Footsie’s mining sector had sunk to three-year lows. He added: “Polymetal has continued its recent weakness as investors sell out of the beleaguered stock ahead of its likely relegation from the UK benchmark at this week’s quarterly review.”

Polymetal fell 4.7 per cent at 644p, while Anglo American and Rio Tinto both dropped more than 2 per cent to 1,421.5p and 2,740p respectively.

The FTSE 100 index was down just 11.54 points at 6,400.45 as traders shopped around for bargains in more defensive sectors.

However, the biggest top-flight faller was water firm Severn Trent after it rejected the latest bid from a consortium of investors and the interested parties threatened to walk away. The shares, which had made strong gains since the LongRiver consortium’s interest became known, plunged 6 per cent to 1,946p.

ITV was nearly 4 per cent higher after Liberum Capital said the broadcaster was its top pick in the media sector. It highlighted the resilience of ITV’s core advertising revenues as well as its growth in areas such as in-house production. Shares have risen 29 per cent so far this year and were up by 4.8p to 134.2p yesterday.

Outside the top flight, infrastructure group Balfour Beatty added 10.3p to 226.3p after it named Nick Pollard as the boss of its troubled UK construction arm. It also announced plans to close three regional offices.

NEW YORK: US shares ended mostly lower last night, pulling back after the previous session’s big gains despite a credit outlook upgrade of the United States.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 10.91 points, or 0.07 per cent, at 15,237.21 while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 0.64 points, or 0.04 per cent, to close at 1,642.74. The Nasdaq Composite Index ended the day up 4.55 points, or 0.13 per cent, at 3,473.77.