FTSE 100 slips below 4,200 but defensives stay afloat

THE FTSE 100 fell one per cent yesterday to close 41.37 points down at 4,194.91, on concerns about the global economic outlook, with heavyweight oils, miners and banks leading the market lower, after it gained 0.1 per cent on Friday.<br /><br />The index fell through the 4,200 level for the first time since late April. It has gained over 20 per cent since touching a six-year low in March, but is still down 5.6 per cent on the year.<br /><br />&ldquo;This is a trend we&rsquo;re likely to see throughout July,&rdquo; said Howard Wheeldon, strategist at BGC Partners. &ldquo;There is no new news out there on which anybody can set up a new stall to believe that recovery is very firmly the order of the day.&rdquo;<br /><br />The FTSE 100 was mainly a sea of red with oil majors weighing heaviest on the index, with traders selling on the back of mounting fears over the speed of economic recovery.<br /><br /><strong>BG Group, BP, Cairn Energy, Royal Dutch Shell</strong> and <strong>Tullow Oil</strong> fell between 1.95 and 3.88 per cent.<br /><br />The fall on the large-cap blue-chip market reflected weak showings in Asia and the lack of a lead from Wall Street, which was closed on Friday for the long Independence Day holiday weekend.<br /><br />Miners were also beaten down as the price of raw materials once again sagged. <strong>Lonmin, Xstrata, Kazakhmys, Anglo American, Rio Tinto</strong> and <strong>BHP Billiton</strong> dropped between 4.28 per cent and 8.54 per cent.<br /><br />Banks also bore the brunt of investor pessimism. <strong>RBS, Barclays, Standard Chartered, HSBC</strong> and <strong>Lloyds Banking Group</strong> retreated between 1.43 and 2.86 per cent.<br /><br />Over on the AIM market, <strong>Ultimate Finance Group</strong>, gained 4.35 per cent to close at 600p, after the factoring, invoice discounting and financial solutions provider to the SME sector said it has secured an increase in its financing arrangement with Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance until 2012.<br /><br />There were few blue-chip gainers but, among them, defensive attractions were to the fore, with pharmaceutical issues performing strongly, led by <strong>AstraZeneca</strong> and <strong>Shire</strong> both up one per cent. <strong>British American Tobacco</strong> and <strong>Imperial Tobacco</strong> up 1.75 per cent and 1.46 per cent respectively.<br /><br />Household products firm <strong>Reckitt Benckiser</strong> was the top blue-chip gainer, up 2.52 per cent, while packaging giant <strong>Rexam</strong> added 1.83 per cent.<br /><br />Today&rsquo;s trading update from <strong>Persimmon</strong> starts a week that will shed some light on the state of the housing market, with reports from <strong>Barratt Developments</strong> and <strong>Travis Perkins</strong> expected on Thursday.