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FTSE 100 has worst day since September as pressure hits metal prices

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London’s top index notched up its worst performance since September on Friday, wiping out nearly all the gains that it had made in February.

The FTSE index dropped as pressure was put on metal prices around the world, sending some of London’s biggest miners deep into the red.

Glencore, Anglo American, Fresnillo and Rio Tinto all notched up share price losses of over 4% across the day.

Alongside other losers on the stock market, it meant the index lost 168.53 points, a 2.5% drop.

The index ended the week on 6483.43 points, only a little above the level where it had closed on February 1.

It marks the single biggest one-day drop for the index since September 21, when it lost 202.61 points.

“While European equity markets have finished the month very much on the defensive, with sharp falls across the board, today’s declines haven’t been enough to wipe out the gains seen this month,” said Michael Hewson, an analyst at CMC Markets.

He added: “The recent rise in copper prices appears to have come to a shuddering halt, after a really big rise this month. The sell-off is somewhat overdue given the extent of the gains that we’ve seen this month. On the plus side, if we continue to slide back, concerns about rising prices causing yields to rise might start to ebb away.

“Next week will be a key test for copper. If we get further sharp declines, this might take the pressure off bond yields.”

The price of international oil standard Brent crude dropped by around 1% to 66.17 dollars per barrel, heaping pressure on BP and Shell, which also saw big falls in their share prices.

The sell-off went global on Friday but even a falling pound could not stop the FTSE from being the worst performer among its peers.

Sterling dropped 0.4%, buying 1.3955 dollars, a move which would ordinarily send the FTSE in the opposite direction as many of its companies sell goods and services in dollars.

The pound performed better against the euro, buying 1.1532 euros after a 0.2% gain.

In New York, the Dow Jones was trading down 0.6% and the S&P 500 up 0.5% as markets closed in Europe.

The German Dax index fell 0.8%, while the Cac in France lost 1.4%.

Rightmove proved the worst performer in a bad day for the FTSE, with shares dropping 6.8% after it revealed a 29% drop in 2020.

Sainsbury’s said it would increase staff salaries at its supermarkets with Argos, which it owns, following suit, with London wages higher. Shares fell 1.4%.

Pets at Home shares rose 3% as it upgraded profit guidance for the fourth time since September.

British Airways owner IAG was one of only three risers on the FTSE 100, gaining 3% after revealing a pre-tax loss of 7.8 billion euros (£6.8 billion) in 2020.

Shares in RSA insurance remained flat as it posted a 15% rise in underlying pre-tax profit. The company has already agreed a takeover deal so share prices are unlikely to move much.

The three risers on the FTSE 100 were IAG, up 5.7p at 191.95p; Reckitt Benckiser, up 50p at 6,000p; and Kingfisher, up 1.6p at 265.4p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Rightmove, down 41p at 565p; Anglo American, down 181p at 2,772.5p; British Land, down 30p at 489.6p; Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, down 61p at 1,135p, and Imperial Brands, down 67p at 1,333p.

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