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FTSE 100 struggles amid falling copper prices

Published 30/08/2016

The London top flight made heavy weather of dropping copper prices
The London top flight made heavy weather of dropping copper prices

London's premier index struggled to make headway as falling copper prices took their toll on the mining giants.

The FTSE 100 Index was 17.26 points lower at 6820.79, as London-listed miners dominated the biggest fallers, with Fresnillo leading the market lower, down 100p to 1690p.

Copper prices sunk to two-month low during the session and were unable to mount a strong recovery, forcing Anglo American to drop 41p to 817.5p, and Glencore to slip 7.9p to 177.1p.

Across Europe, Germany's Dax closed 1% up while the Cac 40 in France was 0.75% higher.

In the US, the Nasdaq was down 0.24% after technology giant Apple saw its share price take a hit after it was slapped with a 13 billion euro (£11 billion) fine by European Union regulators.

In a landmark ruling following a three-year investigation, Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the maker of iPads and iPhones paid just 1% tax on its European profits in 2003 and 0.005% in 2014.

The Brussels watchdog found the arrangements dating back to the early 1990s were illegal under state aid rules and gave Apple favourable treatment over other businesses.

Shares in Apple were down around 0.67% to 106.10 US dollars per share on the Nasdaq Composite.

On the currency markets, the pound broke through the 1.31 US dollar mark, before paring back gains after a positive economic update from America caused the dollar to strengthen.

US consumer confidence hit an eleven-month high, suggesting economic growth could pick up pace in the second half of the year.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index rose to 101.1, up from 96.7 in July. It was the highest level for confidence since the index hit 102.6 last September.

Sterling was down 0.16% against the dollar at 1.308 US dollars and up 0.2% against the euro at 1.173 euros.

The price of oil was also slipping on the back of the strengthening dollar, with Brent crude slipping 1.4% to 48.56 US dollars a barrel.

In UK stocks, Primark owner Associated British Foods (ABF) was the biggest riser on the top tier after RBC Capital handed the firm a broker upgrade from sector perform to outperform.

Shares were up more than 3% or 101p to 3051p after RBC said ABF's sugar business was benefiting from stronger sugar and euro prices, while Primark held an "attractive international rollout story".

Business supplies firm and outsourcer Bunzl edged down despite notching up a rise in profits for the first half of the year and announcing a trio of acquisitions.

Pre-tax profits rose 6% to £155.6 million in the period, driven by a strong performance in continental Europe. Revenues were up 10% to £3.4 billion.

The group added that it has bagged two businesses in Canada - cleaning products firms Plus II Sanitation Supplies and Apex Sanitation Products, and Silwell Kft, a disposable food service company in Hungary.

Shares in Bunzl were down 7p to 2413p.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 Index were Associated British Foods up 101p to 3051p, HSBC up 10.6p to 557.5p, Barclays up 3.2p to 169.2p, CRH up 45p to 2585p.

The biggest fallers were Fresnillo, down 100p to 1690p, Antofagasta, down 30p to 511.5p, Anglo American, down 41p to 817.5p, and Rio Tinto, down 117p to 2350.5p.

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