FTSE rattled again by falling commodities and China stats

THE FTSE 100 was rattled yesterday as global growth concerns triggered a fall in commodity-linked stocks and boosted appetite for defensive assets. Miners and oil stocks retreated as commodities continued their worst rout since 2008, after China surprised analysts by lifting bank reserve requirements by 50 basis points yesterday, a day after data showed China’s factory output growth in April eased much more than expected.

London’s blue chip index, which is heavily weighted towards commodity stocks, closed down 31.04 points or 0.5 per cent at 5,944.46, compounding a 0.7 per cent fall on Wednesday to 5,976.00.

SuperGroup, the British company behind the rapidly-expanding Superdry fashion brand, plunged 22.5 per cent after reporting a slowdown in its phenomenal sales growth.

Interdealer broker ICAP shed 2.1 per cent as peer Tullett Prebon knocked sentimnt after posting shrinking revenue growth in the first four months of 2011.

Anglo-South African insurer Old Mutual joined the hit parade, down 3.3 per cent and disappointing investors with weaker than expected first-quarter life insurance sales.

Private equity firm 3i Group rallied 6.7 per cent on relief that its writedown of the value of its fourth-largest company, Enterprise Group, was les than feared.

Travel firms were also a feature on the upside as they benefited from a weaker oil price, with cruise operator Carnival up two per cent.