FTSE 100 hurt by AstraZeneca and banking shares

The leading share index fell back this morning beneath the 6,300 level that it hit yesterday, as AstraZeneca and banking shares weighed on the FTSE 100.

The pharmaceutical firm dropped more than four per cent in early deals, as it posted a drop in fourth quarter profit.

"As largely expected, investors will have to wait for the real news - a full strategic update from the new chief executive. 2012 will be remembered for significant drug patent losses, whilst guidance for 2013 provides little comfort," said Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers.

Banking shares were in negative territory this morning, as sentiment was hurt by the Financial Services Authority’s review into the sale of interest rate swaps. HSBC fell 0.66 per cent, RBS sank 2.98 per cent, Barclays was down 1.51 per cent and Lloyds Banking Group dropped 0.91 per cent.

Chilean miner Antofagasta continued its fall on the blue chip index, down 2.22 per cent. Yesterday it warned that copper and gold output this year would be lower, due to higher costs.

Asset manager Aberdeen Asset Management was down 1.6 per cent in early trades.

Topping the FTSE 100 leader board this morning was copper miner Kazakhmys, which this morning said full-year copper cathode output fell two per cent on lower grades. Despite a fall in production, the shares were trading up around 1.8 per cent in early deals.

Utility firm SSE rose one per cent, as it said it was expecting an increase in adjusted profits this year.

Outside of the blue chips, platinum miner Lonmin soared 6.57 per cent, on the back of a positive trading update. The South African-focused firm said that production in the first quarter had “substantially exceeded” the planned platinum ramp-up.

In Asia, the Nikkei closed 0.22 per cent up, while in the US the Dow Jones closed 0.32 per cent down.