Traders' concerns weigh down market after six-week high
THE London market was lower yesterday, weighed down by trader concerns over miners and supermarkets.
The FTSE 100 Index fell 29.1 points to 6305.5, as copper prices slumped close to six-year lows in recent weeks.
The dip follows a strong five-day period for the Footsie last week despite the Paris attacks, which saw it add 216 points – a six-week high.
France's Cac 40 and the Dax in Germany were both flat.
The pound was a cent down against the US dollar at just over 1.51, as investors focus on recent comments from the US Federal Reserve about the very gradual pace at which it will raise interest rates once the process begins.
Sterling was slightly lower against the euro at just over 1.42.
Miners were lower, with Anglo American down 5.4p to 441.2p, BHP Billiton fell 14.2p to 871.3p and Antofagasta 11.8p lower to 496.2p.
Tesco was a big faller after it emerged the coffee chain it part owns, Harris & Hoole, will require £6 million from the supermarket after rapid expansion led to losses.
Harris & Hoole said its pre-tax losses jumped to £25.6m in the year ending March 1 compared to £12.8m for the year ending February 23 2014, after it opened 22 new shops, taking its total to 45.
Shares in Tesco fell more than 3 per cent, or 5.8p to 165.7p, as the grocer has committed to support the coffee chain for at least another year.
Investor fears over profits in the under-pressure sector bled across to Morrisons, down 4.1p to 152.3p, and Sainsbury's, also 4.1p lower to 249.6p.
Asia-focused lender Standard Chartered was the biggest faller in the FTSE 100 Index, down 33.8p to 560p, after Nomura cut its target price to 635p-640p.
The bank, under new boss Bill Winters, said earlier this month it would slash 15,000 jobs worldwide and will make a US$5.1 billion (£3.3bn) cash-call to investors as part of a major overhaul to shore up the group.
Engine maker Rolls-Royce was the biggest riser in the top flight, up 17p to 569p, as investors bet that defence spending will get a significant boost tomorrow as part of the chancellor's Autumn Statement.
Elsewhere, outsourcing group Mitie saw its profits tumble after sales at its healthcare unit slumped by almost a fifth.
The FTSE 250 firm, whose clients include Rolls-Royce, Vodafone and the Home Office, said half-year profits slipped 12.1 per cent to £50.1m in the six months to the end of September compared to a year ago, after running into problems at its healthcare division.
Shares fell more than 8 per cent, or 29.3p to 302.8p.
The biggest risers in the FTSE 100 Index were Rolls-Royce, up 17p at 569p, Johnson Matthey, up 49p at 2754p, Babcock International, up 16p at 1005p, and BAE Systems, up 5p at 497p.
The biggest fallers in the FTSE 100 Index were Standard Chartered, down 33.8p at 560p, Tesco, down 6.4p at 165.1p, TUI, down 39p at 1088p, and Morrisons, down 4.1p at 152.3p.