Belfast Telegraph

FTSE 100 falls amid concern over weak data from China

The London market remained in negative territory amid investor concern that weak economic data from China could lead to slower global growth.

The FTSE 100 Index was 32.1 points lower at 6198.9, as two manufacturing surveys pointed to lacklustre activity from the Far East nation, while the falling oil price also kept commodity stocks under pressure.

The private Caixin/Markit survey showed China's factory activity fell to 49.2 last month, down from 49.4 in April, while the official index by the Chinese Federation of Logistics & Purchasing was more optimistic at 50.1 for May. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

Mining giant Anglo American was down more than 3%, while Glencore was nearly 3% lower, as investors feared lower manufacturing output in China could lead to a weaker demand for commodities.

Brent crude was 1% or 51 cents lower to 49.38 US dollars a barrel, with oil major BP falling close to 1%.

Sterling fell 0.1% to 1.446 against the dollar, as it continued to be impacted by Tuesday's ICM EU referendum poll, which put the Leave camp in front, showing 45% favoured leaving the EU, while 42% said they wanted to remain.

The pound also fell against the euro at 1.297.

Among stocks, Anglo American was down 22.1p to 576p, Antofagasta slipped 15.4p to 413.6p, and Glencore dropped 3.8p to 127.3p.

Plumb Center owner Wolseley was the biggest faller on the top tier as it moved to ramp up restructuring efforts across the UK and Europe after revealing a sharp slowdown in sales growth amid "subdued" trading.

The company said like-for-like revenue growth dropped to 1% in recent weeks, down from 2.8% in its third quarter.

Shares dropped more than 6% or 251p to 3800p.

Housing stocks were under fire after e xperts warned a Brexit vote could hit Britain's property market for years as figures revealed a slowdown in annual house price growth last month.

The average price of a UK house edged up 0.2% to £204,368 in May, but year-on-year growth slipped back to 4.7% from 4.9% in April, according to Nationwide Building Society.

Charles Church owner Persimmon fell 54p to 2048p, Taylor Wimpey was 5.3p lower at 200.1p, and Barratt Developments dropped 14.5p to 577.5p.

Away from the top tier, Halfords slumped despite p rofits nudging up as the retailer's turnaround continues under chief executive Jill McDonald.

The car parts to bicycles firm said full year pre-tax profit rose 0.5% to £81.5 million after sales at its retail and Autocentre arms saw growth.

Shares in the FTSE 250 company were more than 5% lower or 22.5p to 416.1p.