FTSE 100 pulled lower by miners on trade fears

Investors are waiting for the outcome of a consultation on US tariffs.

Mining stocks dragged the FTSE 100 lower (Xstrata/PA)
Mining stocks dragged the FTSE 100 lower (Xstrata/PA)

London’s top-flight stocks stumbled for the fourth session in a row on Friday as fears over the future of global trade pushed mining stocks lower.

The FTSE 100 fell by 0.56% or 41.26 points to 7,277.7 during trading as investors anticipated the outcome of a consultation on tariffs in the US.

Antofagasta, Fresnillo and Glencore logged some of the steepest declines, falling by 4.15%, 3.36% and 2.68% respectively.

“Miners traced metals prices lower as investors awaited news from the White House over more tariffs,” said Fiona Cincotta, senior market analyst at City Index.

“While the consultation period for the additional US tariffs ended yesterday, the tariffs have not yet been applied, even though the market is clearly expecting them.”

Retailers were also in the red after data showed that the high street registered its worst August for three years, with Kingfisher and Primark owner Associated British Foods falling by 2% and 1.3% respectively.

Sterling strengthened against the dollar on the back of reports that the EU is open to discussing alternative options for the Irish border.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets, said: “Sterling jumped on the back of this as it suggests a hard Brexit will be avoided, but there is still work to be done.

“The pound’s rally today is all the more impressive given the strength of the US dollar.”

At time of writing, the pound was up 0.57% against the euro at 1.118. Sterling rose 0.17% against the US dollar to 1.294.

Brent crude prices fell 0.27% to 76.420 US dollars a barrel, extending declines seen on Thursday when data showed an increase in US gas stockpiles.

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International Airlines Group’s (IAG) shares had a rough landing on Friday as traders digested the news of a massive breach of customer data at British Airways, which could see the airline hit with a £500 million fine.

Thousands of customers at BA, which is owned by IAG, have had to cancel their credit cards after the 15-day data hack compromised 380,000 payments.

Regulators are now investigating the hack after cyber criminals behind the attack obtained enough credit card details to use them.

By the market close, IAG’s shares were down 9.2p to 672p.

Greene King saw sales boosted by warm weather and the World Cup over the summer, with England football fans sinking more than three million pints while watching Gareth Southgate’s men reach the semi-finals.

The pubs chain pointed to “positive momentum” as it booked a 2.8% increase in like-for-like sales in the 18 weeks to September 2.

Growth over the last 10 weeks stood at 3.2%, helping boost shares by 7.5% or 35.6p to 510.6p.

Air Partner announced a reshuffle of its boardroom pack following a tumultuous few months.

The company, which discovered a £3.3 million accounting error earlier this year, has appointed Joanne Estell as finance chief.

Ms Estell’s career spans 20 years with firms such as Smiths Group and Survitec. She was most recently finance chief at AIM-listed Shield Therapeutics.

Air Partner’s shares closed 1.5p lower at 108.5p.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Smith & Nephew up 29.5p to 1,384p, Sage Group up 11.4p to 581.6p, WPP up 20.5p to 1,165p, and BAE Systems up 10p to 620p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Antofagasta down 32.2p to 744.2p, Fresnillo down 29p to 834p, CRH down 68p to 2,473p, and Glencore down 8.15p to 295.95p.

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