BRITAIN’S top share index yesterday dropped to its lowest level in more than a week after a poorly received earnings report from Apple hit tech stocks and weaker metals prices and an update from BHP Billiton dragged down miners.
The FTSE 100 index closed 1.5 per cent weaker at 6,667.34 points after falling earlier to 6,653.39, the lowest level in more than a week.
The UK mining index slid 4.6 per cent to a six-year low and recorded its biggest one-day percentage drop since January as metals fell sharply.
Diversified global miner Anglo American fell 5.6 per cent to a 13-year low, while Glencore was 5.4 per cent lower.
“Basic resources stocks are being hammered by weak metals prices as there are question marks over metals demand from top consumer China. Discouraging company updates have also soured sentiment,” Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said.
BHP Billiton slumped 5.7 per cent after flagging a hit to its full-year underlying profit of up to $650m (£417m), linked to writedowns in its copper business.
Gold producers also came under pressure, with Fresnillo dropping 2.6 per cent as gold prices hit a five-year trough, in renewed selling after their dramatic slide earlier this week.
Chip designer ARM Holdings sank 6.6 per cent, the biggest decliner in the FTSE 100 index.
Although it reported a pre-tax profit that was only slightly below expectations, it was knocked back after Apple’s results late on Tuesday night.
Apple’s profits rose 38 per cent to $10.7bn (£6.87bn) in the third quarter, helped by strong demand for iPhones.
However, the tech giant’s shares dropped nearly seven per cent in after-hours trading in New York, with analysts unimpressed with its forecasts for the fourth quarter.
ARM’s processor are used in Apple iPads, iPhones and watches.
Across Europe, technology stocks shed nearly $6bn of market value.
Equipment rental company Ashtead fell 3.5 per cent after a double-downgrade from Bank of America/Merrill Lynch to “underperform”, traders said.
Among risers, easyJet surged 4.9 per cent after it said higher demand for beach holidays helped support revenues, but added that there was still uncertainty from the unstable economic and political situations in Greece and the Middle East.