BGGroup's poor results push FTSE100 to three week low

BRITAIN&rsquo;s top shares fell 2.3 per cent to hit a three-week closing low yesterday, dragged down by falls in energy stocks after BG Group posted a sharp drop in net profit, while miners tracked weaker metals.<br /><br />The market also came under pressure on data showing new US homes sales unexpectedly tumbled in September, their first drop in six months, underscoring the hazards to an economic recovery that businesses appeared to be banking on. <br /><br />The FTSE 100 closed down 120.55 points at 5,080.42, on the 80th anniversary of the &ldquo;Black Monday&rdquo; stock market crash of 1929, and posted its biggest one-day percentage fall since July 2.<br /><br />The FTSE has rallied 47 per cent since hitting a floor in March. After three months of consecutive gains from July to September, the index is on course to post its first monthly decline in four months.<br /><br />&ldquo;When you see the quality of economic data coming out which at best is average and you have a 50 percent rally in the last seven months, something has to give. We are just having a reality check here,&rdquo; said David Buik, senior partner at <strong>BGC Partners</strong>.<br /><br />Miners were the biggest drag, underpinned by lower metals prices on worries about rising inventories and poor demand. <strong>Xstrata, Lonmin, Rio Tinto</strong> and <strong>BHP Billiton</strong> shed 6.1 to 9.4 per cent.<br /><br /><strong>Vedanta Resources</strong> lost 4.2 per cent, pressured by a broker downgrade by <strong>Barclays Capital</strong> to &ldquo;equal weight&rdquo; from &ldquo;overweight&rdquo;. <strong>Kazakhmyz</strong>, which reports third-quarter output numbers on Thursday, was 9.1 per cent lower.<br /><br /><strong>BG Group </strong>fell 3.3 per cent, after posting a 44 per cent drop in third-quarter net profit to &pound;484m as gas and oil prices plummeted, though its underlying profits beat forecasts. <br /><br /><strong>BP</strong> shed 1.7 per cent a day after posting forecast-beating results. <strong>Citigroup</strong> cut its rating for the oil major to &ldquo;hold&rdquo; from &ldquo;buy&rdquo; on its judgement that the firm's operational recovery is peaking.<br /><br /><strong>Royal Dutch Shell</strong> and <strong>Cairn Energy</strong> declined 1.2 to 5.2 per cent ahead of their third-quarter results tomorrow. Weaker crude prices 1 also weighed on the sector.<br /><br />The banking sector extended its decline, with the break-up of <strong>ING</strong> continuing to weigh heavily on its UK peers. Investors are unsettled by mounting fears over the disposals government-backed banks will have to make in order to satisfy the European Commission. <strong>Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays, Standard Chartered</strong> and <strong>HSBC</strong> fell 1.3 to 6.1 per cent.