Miners peg back FTSE as investors eye Slovak vote

European shares slid this morning as investors eyed a key vote in Slovakia on whether it will back the Eurozone rescue package.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.6 per cent while London's blue chip index also edged down as miners opened weakly.

Analysts said traders were cautious ahead of the vote in Slovakia to extend the Eurozone rescue facility.

Slovakia is the last member the 17-member bloc yet to vote on a deal agreed by its leaders in July to boost the size and powers of the European Financial Stability Facility.

Miner Kazakhmys was the biggest faller in London, down 2.7 per cent, with Xstrata and Antofagasta off by more than 2.5 per cent.

Hedge fund giant Man Group, which has seen its stock recently dented by a trading update in which it revealed that volatility on the markets had taken its toll on client funds, was down 1.9 per cent.

In contrast banks were up having been buoyed by the Eurozone rescue of beleaguered Franco-Belgian lender Dexia. Lloyds was up 1.9 per cent and RBS 1.4 per cent to make them the top two performers on the index.

Barclays edged up 0.3 per cent although HSBC was marginally down.

Other risers included brewer Whitbread, up 1.2 per cent, B&Q owner Kingfisher, up 0.9 per cent. The world's largest catering firm Compass was also up by around one per cent.

Meanwhile on the FTSE All-share recruiter Robert Walters was down three per cent after saying that the UK jobs market was stuttering.

In global markets the Nikkei closed up 1.9 per cent and the Hang Seng 2.4 per cent after the Chinese Government said it would take bigger stakes in its banks.

On the domestic data front UK manufacturing fell in August, according to figures from the National Office for Statistics. Factory output fell 0.3 per cent from July.

Meanwhile Britain's economy barely grew in the third quarter and the risks facing its fragile recovery are growing due to worries about the Eurozone debt crisis and global demand, a survey British Chambers of Commerce showed.

Across the Atlantic later October's IBD consumer confidence report and the September employment index are due to be released.