Global markets drop on Chinese economic fears and trade war worries
London’s top flight joined markets worldwide in dropping into the red as worrying Chinese economic data and fears over the US-China trade war dented investor sentiment.
The latest figures from China signalled slowing industrial production and retail sales growth in October, raising jitters over the world’s second-largest economy.
With markets in Europe and across the Atlantic under pressure, the FTSE 100 Index closed 58.5 points or 0.8% lower at 7292.8.
Across Europe, the Dax in Germany ended the session down 0.4%, while the Cac 40 in France was largely flat.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wall Street was also lower at the time of close in London, down 0.2%, with concerns that trade deal talks between the US and China have hit further snags.
Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said: “The latest Chinese economic numbers pointed to another slowdown in industrial production and retail sales in October.
“It would appear that the rebound seen in September was a one-off and likely fuelled by an attempt to front run the imposition of new US tariffs.”
Disappointing data from the UK economy failed to knock the pound, with sterling 0.3% higher at 1.289 US dollars and 0.2% up at 1.17 euros.
This came despite official figures revealing an unexpected 0.1% drop in retail sales in October.
On the top tier, luxury fashion house Burberry enjoyed solid share gains as it shrugged off woes in Hong Kong to hike half-year adjusted operating profit by 14% to £203 million, while revenues grew 5% to £1.3 billion.
The group saw shares lift 3% or 69p to 2129p despite revealing that Hong Kong sales declined by double digits in the first six months of the year due to anti-government protests.
FirstGroup was also in sharp focus in the FTSE 250 Index as it lost nearly a fifth of its stock market value, plunging 18% or 23.9p to 105.4p.
The bus and rail firm said it sank to a £187.1 million pretax loss in the six months to September 30 due to ongoing problems in its US Greyhound coach business, which it is offloading.
Back in the FTSE 100, oil giants Royal Dutch Shell and BP were among the list of share fallers as the cost of crude came under pressure.
Shell fell 40p to 2285p and BP dropped 4.5p to 506.3p.
Investment firm 3i was the biggest faller, down 5% or 51.5p at 1073.5p, amid fears the sale of a stake held by the group in discount retailer Action is set to hit its full-year net asset value.
Miners also dragged the FTSE 100 lower, with silver miner Fresnillo leading the sector’s declines – off 19.4p to 636.4p.
Elsewhere, retailer Card Factory shrugged off earlier declines to finish 2% higher, up 3.7p at 158.7p, even though it posted a 0.4% drop in like-for-like store sales over the three months to October 31.
The FTSE 100 biggest risers were Burberry, up 69p at 2129p, Hiscox, ahead 33p at 1282p, Coca-Cola HBC, 53p stronger at 2556p, and Ocado, 23.5p higher at 1157p.
The FTSE 100 biggest fallers were 3i, down 51.5p at 1073.5p, Vodafone, off 5.5p at 159.6p, DCC, 226p lower at 6654p, and Fresnillo, 19.4p weaker at 636.4p.