FTSE 100 index opens flat as Prudential rises but miners extend losses after falling yesterdays

James Nickerson
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Prudential eased investors' worries today causing its share price to shoot up

The FTSE 100 index opened flat today, after it faltered yesterday on the back of weak Chinese trade data.

The UK's blue-chip index rose 0.02 per cent to 6,126 points on the news.

"The weakness of yesterday’s data merely serves to reinforce the importance of this weekend’s retail sales and industrial production data. A similarly abysmal showing here will inevitably raise expectations of further easing measures from Chinese authorities," said Michael Hewson, chief markets analyst at CMC Markets.

"This will become more inevitable if the ECB eases policy further tomorrow, which seems likely," he added.

The FTSE was led higher this morning by Prudential, which climbed 2.83 per cent to 1,365p per share. The company today increased its dividend to investors.

Glencore was also up today by 2.15 per cent, trading at 142.38p per share after falling yesterday.

"It was the damage to the mining sector that took the wind out of the FTSE’s sails [yesterday]. I cannot ever remember a session when so many substantial companies took such a big percentage hit in one day," said David Buik, market commentator at Panmure Gordon.

But other miners fell today. Anglo American was 0.94 per cent down at 525.9p per share, while BHP Billiton dropped 1.92 per cent to 17.86p per share and Rio Tinto slumped 2.12 per cent to 44.3p per share.

And with the combination of poor reporting and warning about the global economy, there is likely to be increased "pressure on the ECB at tomorrow’s policy meeting as politicians once again fail to fulfil their side of the bargain on the reforms front", Hewson added.

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