Stagnation in China’s manufacturing sector led to heavy falls among London’s commodity and oil stocks.
Mining giant Anglo American was the heaviest top-flight faller, dropping 32.2p or 4 per cent to 779p after Chinese manufacturing data recorded no growth in July, in a sign of weakness in the world’s second-largest economy.
Rival BHP Billiton was not far behind, losing 45.5p or 3.9 per cent to 1,137p, while Glencore was down 7.65p at 200.35p.
Oil major BP dipped 4p to 391.45p, while EnQuest was 2.25p or 6.3 per cent lower at 33.25p, as crude prices fell.
The FTSE 100 Index ended the session 7.66 points lower at 6,688.62, and IG market analyst David Madden said: “The economic indicators out of China have gone from bad to worse, and the Beijing authorities have made many attempts to turn the economy around. After many pricey stimulus packages there is still is no sign the Chinese economy can prevent growth from declining.”
Shares in Daily Record owner Trinity Mirror jumped 17p or 12.8 per cent to 150p despite posting a fall in half-year profits, partly due to a £16 million charge related to phone hacking settlement costs.
Europe’s largest bank, HSBC, gained 1.6p to 581.3p after posting a 10 per cent rise in first-half profits, beating City forecasts, an announcing the sale of its Brazil banking unit to Banco Bradesco in a $5.2 billion (£3.3bn) deal.
Royal Bank of Scotland fell 4.6p to 337.6p ahead of the UK government’s decision to sell a 5.2 per cent stake in the bailed-out lender, while rival Lloyds Banking Group was down 0.13p at 83.07p as the taxpayer’s stake fell below 14 per cent. In a stock market disclosure, the Treasury said it has now recouped £14bn from the sell-off, all of which has gone towards reducing the national debt.