Miners drag FTSE lower

Miners led a retreat on the FTSE 100 today as copper prices dropped with global growth worries resurfacing following weaker-than-expected Chinese trade data.

China's trade surplus narrowed in September for a second month in a row as growth of exports and imports both fell below forecasts, reflecting global economic weakness.

However in a boost for the UK official data showed that its exports had hit a record high in August.

Asset manager Ashmore was the biggest faller in London, down more than six per cent after it gave a grim trading update which showed that market volatility had hit client funds over the summer.

Hedge fund giant Man Group, which is in the same predicament after a recent bleak update, was down three per cent.

BP shares were down 1.3 per cent after a mixed morning in which it was given the go-ahead by UK government for a North Sea project, while the US imposed sanctions over the Deepwater Horizon spill.

But it was the mining sector as a whole which saw confidence sapped as fears over world growth took their toll.

Anglo American was down more than two per cent and Antofagasta one per cent as were Xstrata and Kazakhmys. Rio Tinto edged down by 0.7 per cent despite reporting record iron ore sales.

Banks fared better after leaders of Slovakia yesterday announced that they would support the Eurozone bailout plan masterminded by France and Germany.

Today analysts and traders are eyeing an Italian bond auction as a gauge of investor sentiment.

RBS was up two per cent, Barclays 1.5 per cent and Lloyds 0.3 per cent.

Also among financial stocks fund manager Hargreaves Lansdown was up around 1.3 per cent after saying that its sales had risen thanks to new business.

But Rolls-Royce was the highest climber, up more than six per cent after an announcement that it had agreed a partnership deal with US firm Pratt and Whitney.

In Asia the Nikkei closed up 0.9 per cent and the Hang Seng 2.3 per cent.