FTSE gains held back by miners and RSA’s woes - London Report

TOP UK shares gained yesterday but under­performed a stronger rally across Europe, after takeover talks for insurer RSA fell through and mining stocks suffered another bout of selling.

The FTSE 100 was up 0.1 per cent at 6,108.71 points at its close after falling in the previous two sessions. Pan-European equities were up 1.1 per cent.

Mining and commodities stocks Glencore, Anglo American and Antofagasta fell by two to 5.6 per cent. The UK FTSE 100 index is exposed to the sector, which has been hit by turmoil in emerging markets, a sell-off in commodities and US dollar strength.

“Even though a lot of people are looking at the miners… and saying: ‘Is there any opportunity to get back in?’, to us it’s still a sector to stay away for now,” said Matthew Brennan, UK company analyst at Brown Shipley.

RSA Insurance plunged 20.8 per cent after Zurich Insurance Group abandoned its proposed £5.6bn bid for the British company.

“What you are likely to see is consolidation in the sector,” said Brown Shipley’s Brennan. “If RSA isn’t involved in that, then obviously you could see margins squeezed.”

Shire led UK shares higher earlier in the trading session, rising one per cent and on track for its biggest one-day move this month.

The company has won European approval for its Intuniv tablets as a non-stimulant treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, in children and adolescents.

“Continued progress by Shire in ADHD keeps it ahead of the game to develop the next preferred treatment, to help it recapture lost market share to what is inevitable generic competition over time,” said Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets.

Valve-control systems maker Rotork fell six per cent, breaching its three-and-a-half-year low after several brokerage downgrades.

Last week, the company issued a profit warning due to project deferrals and cancellations.

“Order intake is the key lead variable for Rotork but order visibility is low, timings of orders are seeing heightened uncertainty and when they are received they are with extended delivery times,” analysts at Credit Suisse said in a note.

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