London Report: FTSE drops on worrying data on the economy

BRITAIN’S top share index slipped slightly yesterday, led lower by mining stocks, as signs of economic weakness in Europe and growing tension in Iraq made investors cautious.

The FTSE 100 closed down 0.2 per cent, or 13.49 points, at 6,787.06 points following gains in early trade.

The UK mining index, down 0.8 per cent, was the biggest sectoral faller on concerns about economic growth in the region as Germany’s Ifo index of business sentiment fell in June to its lowest this year.

And the tense situation in Iraq also made investors cautious as US Secretary of State John Kerry held crisis talks with leaders of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region.

International equipment rental company Ashtead Group was the biggest loser on the index, falling more than three per cent, while Sports Direct International also fell by the same amount.

Revived bank TSB was 0.34 per cent percent higher on its first day of full trading on the London Stock Exchange.

The pound lost some ground, following comments made by Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, to MPs at the Treasury Select Committee.

Carney said there was still spare capacity in the UK economy, which needed to be used before interest rates have to be raised.

BoE deputy governor Charlie Bean said Britain was gradually moving towards the point of tighter monetary policy, although the timing would depend on how the economy progresses from here.

The pound fell 0.34 per cent against the dollar to $1.697 and was down 0.2 per cent against the euro at 1.249 euros.

Among FTSE 250 companies, shares in Domino Printing Sciences, plunged more than 16 per cent. The firm, which makes barcode printers, said profits would be under pressure during the financial year ending October 2015.

The company blamed weak prices in Asia and research and development costs.

Imagination Technologies, which designs chips used in mobile phones including Apple’s bestsellers, jumped 7.4 per cent after it announced a 13 per cent rise in full year’s sales and forecast a good performance in the current financial year.