FTSE 100 edges down as Moody’s downgrades France

The blue chip index inched lower in trading this morning, as Moody’s downgrade of France stifled investor sentiment.

On the FTSE All-Share, platinum miner Lonmin sank more than 40 per cent in early trading. Yesterday its shareholders voted through an $817m (£514m) rights issue at a general meeting.

Pub group Punch Taverns fell almost four per cent in early deals.

International Ferro Metals sank 3.5 per cent, while engineer Renold dropped 2.86 per cent as it reported a decline in half-year profits.

Plastics business Carclo lost 2.47 per cent. It said this morning it continued to trade in line with expectations in the first half, and expected a stronger second-half performance.

Rig maker Lamprell fell 2.15 per cent, as it increased forecast losses yesterday.

Topping the leader board this morning was low-cost carrier easyJet, which pledged a higher dividend on the back of rising profits.

Wolfson Microelectronics jumped 4.5 per cent, while Premier Foods – which announced this morning it would cut 600 jobs in its bread division – rose more than four per cent.

Miner Aquarius Platinum was up 3.64 per cent, as Nomura upgraded the stock to “buy”.

Utility company Telecom Plus increased 3.5 per cent, on the back of an eight per cent rise in first-half profit.

UK banking shares – HSBC fell 1.15 per cent, RBS declined 1.25 per cent, Barclays sank 0.57 per cent while Lloyds Banking Group was up 2.16 per cent.

In Asia, the Nikkei closed down 0.12 per cent, and in the US the Dow Jones closed up 1.65 per cent.