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Miners pull FTSE down as international markets buoyant

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August Graham
·3-min read
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Poorly performing mining stocks were offset by a strong showing from London’s top housebuilders as the FTSE 100 ended Wednesday in more or less the same place as when it called time on Tuesday.

After a brief morning dip, the index took a break from strong swings so far this week to trade fairly flat through most of the day.

It ended up at 6,725.6 points, down 4.74, or less than 0.1%

For the third time this week it put the FTSE 100 behind its international counterparts, which have generally been performing considerably better than the London index.

In Frankfurt, the Dax index added 0.7%, while Paris’s Cac put on 1.1%.

While markets were closing in Europe, US traders had sent the S&P 500 up by 0.6%, and the Dow Jones was trading 1.1% higher.

It was the FTSE’s reliance on mining companies that proved its weakness.

Traders in Europe and the across the pond have been eyeing the Biden administration’s 1.9 trillion dollar (£1.4 trillion) plan to help the US through the remainder of the coronavirus pandemic.

Watch: Asia stocks gain on positive handover from US equities, Oil takes a breather

But FTSE traders have their eyes on the metal prices which are being pushed down by policies from Beijing.

“The reason behind the losses should concern the FTSE,” said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.

“While the rest of the markets are set to benefit from America’s accelerated stimulus plan, a reduction in aid from the People’s Bank of China could cause the UK index to lag behind even more than it already does if its miners continue to sink.”

While miners struggled, housebuilders performed better, with Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon and Berkeley all rising by around 1.5%.

Joe Biden
Many eyes are on the future of Joe Biden’s coronavirus package (Niall Carson/PA)

Sterling rose 0.1% to buy 1.3896 dollars and 1.1678 euros. The price of Brent crude oil dropped 0.6% to 67.13 dollars per barrel.

Among Wednesday’s winners were companies that bring goods to homes, and one that sells the homes.

Royal Mail said that a surge in letters being carried by its post men and women means that it is likely to see adjusted operating profit hit almost twice last year’s levels, ahead of prior expectations. Shares jumped 3.6%.

Just Eat fared even better, with its earnings jumping from 18 million euros (£15 million) in 2019 to 256 million euros (£219 million) last year. Shares rose 6.1%.

And Foxtons investors saw their shares rise by 10.2% after the London estate agent said 2021 has been the busiest year so far since 2016.

Next was also in positive territory, rising 0.6% after buying a 25% stake in clothes maker Reiss for around £200 million.

A fundraise at The Restaurant Group, which owns Frankie & Benny’s and Wagamama, sent its shares down by 1.6%.

Also in the red was Balfour Beatty, which revealed a two-thirds drop in pre-tax profit last year. Shares dropped 2.1%.

Legal & General also dropped, although only by 0.1%, after revealing a dip in profits last year.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Just Eat, up 418p to 7262p, M&G, up 8.1p to 222.9p, Spirax-Sarco, up 380p to 11400p, Kingfisher, up 8.5p to 294.6p, and Sainsbury, up 4.6p to 235.4p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were British Land, down 18.7p to 496.5p, BHP, down 66p to 2134p, Melrose Industries, down 5.45p to 180.45p, Rio Tinto, down 170p to 5649p, and Auto Trader, down 15.6p to 555p.

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