FTSE hit by China growth fears and eurozone crisis

Commodity stocks took a hammering in early trading today as miners and energy related groups suffered from uncertainty in the global economy.

The eurozone debt crisis continued to cast a shadow after Italy's credit rating was downgraded by Standard & Poor's from stable to negative.

Chinese manufacturing data from HSBC showing a ten-month low also drained confidence as the government raised interest rates in an attempt to cool the economy and rein in inflation.

The potential blow to demand from China sent commodity stocks, including metals, plummeting and hit global markets.

Japan's Nikkei Stock Average was down 1.5 per cent overnight, reflecting drops across Asia.

On London's blue chip index oil services company Wood Group plunged by 5.3 per cent after confirming a hefty share buyback last week.

Miners Antofagasta, Anglo American and Kazakhmys all dived by more than three per cent as investors abandoned the sector.

Banks also slipped as the European debt crisis piled on pressure, with Greece's deficit still spooking investors.

Lloyds and Barclays were down two per cent while HSBC dropped one per cent and RBS 1.4 per cent.

In other sectors TUI Travel tumbled by more than three per cent while Ryanair fell eight per cent after it said high fuel cost and a lack of growth in capacity would mean flat earnings in the coming year.

British Land shares fell three per cent despite the company announcing a profit rise.

Interdealer broker Icap — which thrives on volatility — led the FTSE 100's climbers, up just over one per cent.

However, there were few significant risers as investors steered clear of risky investments.

First-quarter growth numbers, due on Wednesday for the UK, and on Thursday for the US, will be the key economic data to be released this week.