Belfast Telegraph

Slip for FTSE 100 Index after fall in commodity prices

The London market closed lower after falling commodity prices weighed on heavyweight mining stocks.

The FTSE 100 Index was down 10.9 points to 6114.8, following a 2% fall in copper prices. The market had risen by around 50 points earlier in the session, buoyed by positive corporate trading.

The move comes after traders in London had attempted to put a disappointing week behind them which saw the market lose almost 2% after a series of weak economic data in Europe, China and the US.

Germany's Dax was up 1%, while in France the Cac 40 was 0.5% higher. In New York the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down around 50 points in early trading.

European markets were buoyed by strong March factory orders in Germany, the continent's largest economy. New German manufacturing orders rose by 1.9% in March compared with the previous month.

The pound was slightly lower at 1.26, following the robust German factory data. Sterling was also down slightly against the US dollar, at 1.44.

In London, Anglo American fell 89.9p to 559.5p, Glencore slipped 13.1p to 132.6p, and Rio Tinto was 169p lower at 1964.5p on fears over slowing world trade.

EasyJet was a strong riser, after the Luton-based carrier lifted almost 4% after broker RBC upgraded its outlook to "outperform" from "underperform", adding that the business was also tackling its cost inflation issues.

EasyJet was up 54p to 1470p, after the upgrade from RBC.

Shares in the airline rose even though the market expects its half-year results on Tuesday to swing to a £15 million half-year loss compared with a £7 million profit 12 months ago, in the wake of deadly attacks in Paris, Egypt and Brussels.

However, airlines often register a loss in the traditionally weaker winter period, and easyJet's £7 million profit a year ago was a rare first-half result.

Elsewhere, outsourcing giant G4S was a strong riser in the FTSE 250, after posting robust first-quarter results.

It said revenues in the first quarter rose 4.5% to £1.5 billion as it continues to wind down loss-making contracts.

Chief executive Ashley Almanza said: "Against a backdrop of macro-economic uncertainty, the group had a positive start to the year."

Shares jumped almost 5%, or 8.9p to 193.2p.

Sales at Greggs, the baker, in the first quarter were hit by weak high street trading as the company prepares to close three factories.

The retailer said like-for-like sales grew 3.7% in the period, down from 6% in the same period last year.

However, the City was impressed by the growth the FTSE 250 firm was able to demonstrate amid increasingly tough high street trading.

Clive Black, analyst at Shore Capital, said: "We deem such a trading performance to be very robust indeed against what has been a demonstrably challenging backdrop for the majority operating on the UK high street, tough conditions that have also embraced the likes of Next."

Shares in Greggs lifted almost 3%, or 29p to 1097p.

The biggest risers in the FTSE 100 Index were AstraZeneca up 146p at 3944.5p, easyJet up 54p at 1470p, TUI up 37p at 1037p and Berkeley 76p at 2984p.

The biggest fallers in the FTSE 100 Index were Anglo American down 89.9p at 559.5p, Glencore down 13.1p at 132.6p, Rio Tinto down 169p at 1964.5p and BHP Billiton down 51.4p at 793.3p.