The prospect of a knife-edge US presidential election shook investors’ confidence and sent the FTSE 100 Index lower today.
London’s main market closed 29 points lower at 5,839 as President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney fought a close-run battle.
Poor sentiment – dampened further after a purchasing managers survey for the US services sector revealed a worse-than-expected slowdown in growth in October – hit miners, with Eurasian Natural Resources dropping 12.2p to 321.3p, Vedanta Resources off 42p at £11.18 and Kazakhmys 17.5p lower at 717.5p.
HSBC shares were more than 1%, or 8.1p lower at £6.18 after a 51% slide in third-quarter pre-tax profits, to £2.2billion.
The wider banking sector suffered, with Royal Bank of Scotland off 4.8p at 276.5p, Lloyds Banking Group down 0.6p at 42.9p and Barclays losing 3.7p at 237.5p.
Prudential shares came under pressure, falling 2.5p to £8.56, after the insurer entered into a long-term partnership in Thailand with Thanachart Bank.
Weir Group was the biggest riser on the FTSE 100 – ahead 80p at £18.31 – as the pumps and valves maker said it expected to report full year profits of £440million to £450million, in line with market expectations.
GlaxoSmithKline rose 22.5p to £13.84, British American Tobacco added 30.5p to £31.28 and International Airlines Group cheered 1.6p to 170.7p.
Outside the top flight, low-cost airline Ryanair was 6%, or 22p higher at £3.85after it said it now expected full-year profits of £392million-£416million – better than previously forecast.