London report: FTSE nudges down despite China boost for mining sector

THE FTSE finished off seven-week highs yesterday, with China’s reassurance on growth lifting miners but failing to provide enough momentum for the broad index to overcome technical resistance.

Basic materials, the third-biggest sector in the FTSE 100 and the market’s clear laggard this year, outperformed after the Chinese premier made a commitment to maintain growth above seven per cent.

China’s plans to boost railway expansion also lifted mining shares, heralding the potential for even more metals demand from the world’s top consumer. Some also cited debate around Wall Street banks’ commodity operations as a potential sentiment boost for the commodity trader.

Trading in other sectors was subdued in thin summer trade and the FTSE 100 closed down 25.73 points or 0.4 per cent at 6,597.44. It failed to hold onto a seven-week intra-day high reached earlier in the day at 6,657.66 points after encountering technical resistance around that area for the second time in four sessions.