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London stocks stumble after commodity firms slip back

London’s markets dropped on Wednesday amid downward pressure from mining firms in the face of weaker commodity prices.

Investors and traders also appeared cautious over the rates outlook ahead of the latest Federal Reserve meeting minutes.

The FTSE 100 moved 0.59%, or 47.12 points, lower to finish at 7,930.63.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “It’s been another weak session for markets in Europe despite a softening in yields with the FTSE 100 slipping to a one-week low, weighed down by weakness in basic resources and financials.

“Despite the drag from the two aforementioned sectors, we have managed to rally quite strongly from these intraday lows, with lower yields prompting a modest rebound in house builders and consumer staples.”

Markets in Asia had dropped sharply after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand hiked interest rates by 0.5 percentage points to a new 14-year high.

Across the Channel, the German Dax rose by 0.0.1%, and the French Cac 40 decreased by 0.13% at close.

In the US, the main markets opened slightly higher after St Louis Fed president James Bullard predicted a Fed policy rate in the range of 5.25% to 5.5%.

Sterling drifted during a cautious session for currency traders ahead of the latest minutes from the Fed.

The pound was down by around 0.37% to 1.205 US dollars, and by 0.10% to 1.135 euros at market close in London.

In company news, banking giant Lloyds edged into the green after it said profits nearly doubled in the final three months of 2022 as its loan book swelled and interest rates increased.

The UK’s largest lender said its quarterly statutory pre-tax profit was £1.8 billion, up from £968 million over the same period in 2021.

Shares moved 0.29p higher to 51.26p at the close of play.

Mining firm Rio Tinto was among the FTSE’s heaviest fallers after it cut its shareholders’ dividend by more than half due to lower commodity prices.

The group said it would pay a 53% lower dividend for 2022 after a pullback in raw material prices caused pre-tax profit to dip by 40%. Shares in the business fell 221.0p to 5,983p.

Cineworld shares slipped further after reports that the troubled cinema chain had failed to secure any firm takeover offers to buy the entire business. Shares dropped by 0.462p to 4.018p.

Sanderson Design Group finished up 18p at 136.5p after the furnishing designs business signed a “major” licensing deal for its Clarke & Clarke brand with retailer Next.

The price of oil lost ground for the second consecutive session amid concerns that sharply higher rates could result in a slowdown in demand.

Brent crude oil decreased by 2.59% to 80.9 US dollars (£67.08) per barrel when the London markets closed.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Relx, up 61p to 2,552p, Rentokil, up 9.6p to 518.2p, Reckitt, up 100p to 5,820p, Coca-Cola HBC, up 32p to 2,140p, and Compass Group, up 28.5p to 1953p.

The biggest fallers were Burberry, down 112.0p to 2,480p, Rio Tinto, down 221.0p to 5,983p, Antofagasta, down 48.0p to 1,674p, Anglo American, down 68.5p to 3,085.5p, and Rolls-Royce, down 2.4p to 107.62p.