The FTSE 100 has ended the day down 22.60 points, or 0.43%, to 5263.90, after the mining sector lost most of its gains and oil companies fell in line with the drop in oil prices.
In the mining sector, a positive start ended on a flat note with BHP Billiton making only a small gain of 0.06% up to 818p. Xstrata and Antofagasta managed to hold on to some gains, with Xstrata moving up 0.45% to 1,354p while Antofagasta advanced 0.61% to 1,479p. Rio Tinto received a further boost of 1.09% to 2,218p, after announcing a $1.35bn expansion of its iron ore operations in Western Australia.
Oil stocks such as BP and Royal Dutch Shell were amongst the major fallers as crude oil prices fell by over a $1, closing in on the $63 a barrel mark. BP fell 1.51% to 620p, while Shell dropped 0.75% to 1,724p. Cairn Energy also slid 1.23% to 1,688p.
But Aviva was one of the few winners as it moved up 19.50p, or 3.14%, to 641.50p. The UK insurer upwardly revised both its targets for its underwriting performance and the amount of cost savings it expects from the RAC acquisition.
AstraZeneca also fell out of favour as it slipped 2.02% to 2,613p, after Indian group Ranbaxy filed a new drug application that could challenge its Nexium treatment.
Meanwhile PartyGaming fell in sympathy with Empire Online after it issued a profit warning. The online poker group, whose actions are the cause of its rival’s problems, dropped 0.63% to 79p, while Empire Online fell 4.59% to 93.50p.
US stocks were little changed at their opening a short time ago, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 6.09 points or 0.06%, to 10,342.01, after poor showings from carmakers GM and Ford as analysts claimed the industry was at “tipping point.”
GM has fallen 1.9% to $29.50 and Ford had also declined 1.8% to $8.49 as Merrill Lynch lowered the companies' stocks to "sell" from "neutral".
Gains in IBM have helped limit the declines, as the world's largest computer company has increased 1.7% to $83.99, a day after it reported earnings that beat estimates.
Heating and cooling systems maker American Standard has dropped almost 17% to $36.61 after it reported lower-than-expected quarterly earnings, citing weakness in its bath and kitchen business. Elsewhere, crude oil futures are declining $0.66 to $63.65 as news that Tropical Storm Wilma has been forecast to turn toward Florida, away from oil and gas facilities further west on the Gulf Coast.IFAonline
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