FTSE 100 slips as miners lead index down

The blue chip index was broadly flat in early deals, as it failed to replicate its landmark day of trading on Wednesday. The FTSE 100 edged down by around 0.15 per cent this morning.

Miners led the way down as worries that the US Fed might halt its monetary easing programme and concerns over US jobs data out later today affected markets.

Defensive stocks propped up the leading index in early trading, with British American Tobacco the largest riser, adding 1.25 per cent, while consumer group Reckitt Benckiser was up 0.68 per cent.

Oil major BP rose 0.97 per cent, following Deepwater Horizon owner Transocean’s $1.4bn settlement with the US government yesterday for the Gulf of Mexico spill in 2010 that killed 11 people.

Other notable risers on the FTSE All-Share this morning was credit card insurer CPP Group, up almost 20 per cent. Last month the group, which was the subject of a regulatory probe, reassured investors and said it continued to trade profitably.

Dragging the index down was a variety of headline mining and oil and gas shares. On the main index, Mexican miner Fresnillo sank 4.8 per cent, as UBS downgraded it from “buy” to “neutral”.

Gold miner Randgold Resources fell 3.21 per cent, and fellow precious metals miner Polymetal was down 3.2 per cent in early deals.

On the wider index, Petropavlovsk fell three per cent, South African miner Aquarius Platinum was down 2.5 per cent and Avocet Mining was off by 2.4 per cent.

UK banking shares were mainly in negative territory. HSBC was flat in early deals, RBS was down 0.42 per cent, Barclays sank 0.29 per cent and Lloyds Banking Group fell 2.13 per cent.

In Asia, the Nikkei closed up 2.82 per cent while in the US the Dow Jones closed down 0.16 per cent.