Mixed economic data in the US and fears over Chinese growth rattled investors and weighed on the London market today.
The FTSE 100 Index closed 36.3 points lower at ,874.82 after figures revealed a decline in US factory orders for the first time in three months in January, by 1%, as demand for steel and machinery waned.
Essar Energy was near the top of the fallers’ board, down 6.7p to 107.1p, while Vedanta Resources dropped 54p to £14.00, Xstrata shed 59p to 1137.5p and Kazakhmys slipped 48.5p to 951.5p.
Support service firm Serco fell 33p to £5.27 after a downgrade from broker Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
BP managed to outperform its peers in the oil sector following an out-of-court settlement with business and individuals over the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
The £4.9billion deal, struck on Friday night, was less than many analysts feared and removed some of the uncertainty hanging over the oil giant, although it still faces action from the Department of Justice. Shares were 8.1p higher at 504.6p.
Other stocks going up included testing services firm Intertek, which rose 3%, or 58p to £23.72 after it said profits increased 23% to £260.1million as all five of its divisions improved their performance.
Diageo – up 23p at 1527.5p – and Centrica, ahead 4.1p at 310.3p, were also among the risers.
In the FTSE 250 Index, online grocer Ocado saw its shares rise 0.8p to 103.8p after it said operational problems were largely behind it and sales during the 12 weeks to February 19 were up 11% year-on-year.
Banking software services firm Misys surged 6%, or 18.9p to £3.35 after private equity firms CVC Capital and ValueAct Capital said they were considering a joint bid for the company.
Insurer Amlin fell 4%, or 15.5p to £3.36 after it swung to full-year pre-tax losses of more than £500million.
Stuart Lamont, of investment manager and financial planning specialist Brewin Dolphin in Aberdeen, noted SSE rising 0.5% to £13.15 and AMEC gaining 0.3% at £11.09. Weir Group was off 4.7% at £19.39, Royal Bank of Scotland fell 2.4% to 27.4p and Premier Oil shed 2% to 427.3p.