Anglo American leads FTSE 100 down

Global miner Anglo American led the FTSE 100 down this morning as one of its mines was hit by a strike following yesterday’s review of its platinum operations in South Africa.

Amplats, which is 80 per cent owned by parent Anglo American, yesterday said it would divest of a mine complex and close four shafts, which could lead to the loss of up to 14,000 jobs. Anglo American was the biggest faller on the blue chip index this morning, trading down 3.7 per cent.

Fellow miner Xstrata fell 1.78 per cent in early deals, while FTSE 250 South African platinum miner Lonmin shed 4.39 per cent. Small cap miner Talvivaara was down 3.56 per cent on the back of an operations update that said up to 230 employees could be temporarily laid off.

Meanwhile, electrical retailer Dixons dropped more than six per cent in early deals.

Defensive stocks were the top blue chip gainers this morning. Pharmaceutical firm Shire was up almost 1.9 per cent, while utility stocks United Utilities and Severn Trent added 1.5 and 0.88 per cent respectively.

On the FTSE All-Share, China-focused explorer Fortune Oil was up 6.67 per cent, while airline Flybe was up four per cent.

Banking shares had a tough morning. Lloyds Banking Group shed 2.35 per cent, while RBS was down 1.75 per cent. HSBC fell 0.34 per cent and Barclays was down 1.83 per cent.