FTSE 100 slips lower as investors wait for fresh stimulus from central banks

TOP shares fell yesterday in sluggish volumes as weakness in index heavyweights such as miners, tobaccos and Vodafone outstripped gains in financials.

London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index closed down 31.74 points or 0.5 per cent at 5,833.04, erasing the previous session’s gains and fluctuating in a tight range between 5,800 and 5,900 in volumes just 66 per cent of their 90-day average.

The FTSE 100 has flattened out with the summer rally waning as investors await cautiously for announcements from central banks regarding further stimulus measures.

Miners, which have spearheaded recent gains – up six per cent in the last month – were among the top fallers as ENRC became the latest commodity-linked stock to raise donuts over the outlook for global demand. ENRC shed 8.5 per cent, topping the list of FTSE 100 fallers, after the Kazakh miner reported first-half profit plunged 41 per cent and announced it was cutting spending and its dividend.

Index heavyweight Vodafone shed 0.9 per cent, accounting for around 3.5 points, or nearly 11 per cent of the FTSE 100 index’s retreat. BofA Merrill Lynch downgraded its rating for the mobile telecoms group to “neutral” from “buy”, on concerns its recent rally has left its valuation stretched.

British American Tobacco (BAT) and Imperial Tobacco, down 1.7 per cent and 1.9 per cent respectively, were hit after Australia’s highest court yesterday dismissed a challenge from international cigarette companies over tough new anti-tobacco marketing laws.

On the upside, Resolution rose 2.9 per cent after solid first-half results.