London Report: FTSE falls from highs on global growth jitters

BRITAIN’S top share index retreated from a three-week high yesterday on concerns about the pace of global economic growth, with cyclical sectors such as miners and banks worst hit.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index ended 0.6 per cent lower at 6,823.51 points after climbing to its highest since early June in the previous session.

The index gained 1.6 per cent last week, its best weekly performance since May.

Drugs giant Astrazeneca rose strongly in today’s session, 0.76 per cent to 4,451p, on reports investor Neil Wood­ford had selected the group “as the single biggest investment for his new fund”.

Engineering group Weir was a high riser – 0.74 per cent to 2,735p – after analysts at Citigroup upgraded the stock to “buy”, hiking their target price for the shares from 2,600p to 3,100p.

The bank said that Weir’s opport­unities in oil and gas were “underappreciated” by the market.

Among individual stock movers, Tullow Oil fell 3.1 per cent to the bottom of the FTSE 100 index, with traders attributing the share decline to fresh violence in Uganda that created uncertainty over the company’s operations in the country.

Uganda’s army said it had killed more than 60 gunmen who attacked police and army posts in the west on Saturday, while extra troops had been deployed to restore security in an area near the country’s new oil fields.

On the FTSE 250 Index, house builder Taylor Wimpey slipped nearly three per cent to 114p, despite saying it had performed strongly in the first half of 2014, with sales rates and pricing at the upper end of its expectations.

The Buckinghamshire-based firm said in the half year to 29 June, it had increased the amount of homes it built by 11 per cent to 5,766, while average selling prices rose 10 per cent to £206,000.

Brewer SABMiller was in focus after it said it would dispose of its £583 million stake in Tsogo Sun, the South African-listed gaming, hotel and entertainment group. The stock fell 1.25 per cent to 3,355p.

Elsewhere, Mothercare rose 5.3 per cent to 268p after major shareholders Fidelity and Allianz backed management’s rejection of an “inadequate” takeover offer from US suitor Destination Maternity.