China woes and miners’ troubles weigh on index - London Report

MIXED Chinese economic data and falls in mining shares weighed on the FTSE 100 yesterday. However, declines were mitigated somewhat by a surge in drinks group SABMiller following a new takeover proposal from rival AB InBev.

The blue-chip index, which fell on Monday to end an eight-day winning run, was down 0.5 per cent at 6,342.28 points at the close, but still broadly outperforming European indexes.

[It’s a] mixed bag from the FTSE… there’s quite a lot of profit-taking going on after an excellent few days’ run,” Malcolm Bracken, investment manager at Redmayne-Bentley, said.

“I think, broadly, we’ve formed a nice low and hopefully we can continue to build into Christmas.”

The FTSE 350 Mining Index, which jumped 19 per cent last week to record its best weekly performance in nearly seven years, fell 1.2 per cent after data from China, which is the world’s biggest consumer of metals.

China’s exports fell less than expected in September, with monthly figures showing recovery. However, a sharper fall in imports left economists divided over whether the country’s ailing trade sector is showing signs of turning around.

The mixed picture impacted mining stocks such as Glencore, which fell 2.6 per cent, and Anglo American, which retreated 1.8 per cent.

“We had seen quite a sharp recovery in the miners but yet again, China has brought us back down to earth with those weak figures. People who had been buying the miners over the last week would now be tempted to sell and lock in some profits on them,” said Charles Hanover Investments’ partner Dafydd Davies.

Royal Mail shares also retreated by 4.2 per cent after the British government sold off the remainder of its stake in the company.

However, SABMiller rose nine per cent after accepting a takeover proposal from Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer, which set out a cash-and-share package currently worth about £69bn.

AB InBev said it was willing to pay £44 in cash per SABMiller share, with a partial share alternative set at a discount and limited to 41 per cent of SABMiller shares. SAB shares were slightly below that level at £39.

Traders said SABMiller shares were below AB InBev’s headline offer price partly because of concerns that the proposed tie-up may face anti-trust issues.