London Report: Miners and Tesco drag on the FTSE

WEAK miners dented top UK shares yesterday, tracking copper prices lower as traders bet on more falls for the broader market, while Tesco dropped on analyst downgrades ahead of a trading update this week.

Miners shed two per cent, hit by a lower copper price as concerns over swelling supplies overshadowed improved manufacturing data from top metals consumer China.

They accounted for around a fifth of the FTSE 100’s falls, with the index off 55.24 points, or 0.8 per cent, at 6,595.33 points by the close.

Light volumes, at just over three quarters of the 90-day average, exaggerated market moves.

Analysts said the index’s long-term upward trend remains intact, but the more immediate outlook is looking increasingly bearish. It has been trending lower since the end of October, shaving its advance in 2013 to around 12 per cent.

Tesco fell two per cent after HSBC downgraded it to underweight, saying the company needs to lower margins, and Goldman Sachs lowered its estimate for third-quarter earnings.

The world’s third-biggest retailer is expected to slip back to an underlying sales decline in Britain when it publishes quarterly trading data tomorrow. Meanwhile department store chain Debenhams shed 3.9 per cent as Barclays cut it to underweight.