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LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Falls As Miners Slump On Weak China Data

09/01/2015 | 12:39pm US/Eastern

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch

Glencore tumbles 10%

U.K. stocks dropped Tuesday, as gloomy manufacturing data from China reinforced concerns about slowing growth in the world's second-largest economy.

The FTSE 100 fell 3% to close at 6,058.54, with none of its components moving higher on the first day of trading after Monday's bank holiday. The index on Friday closed up 1% for the week, but registered a 6.7% loss for August.

Stocks remained lower and the pound fell after data showed U.K. manufacturing activity slipped in August, with sluggish output growth offsetting strength in the consumer-goods sector. The pound hit an intraday low of $1.5300 before recovering to $1.5340. Sterling late Friday bought $1.5345.

The Markit/CIPS purchasing manager's index came in at 51.5, down from 51.9 in July and slightly below the 51.8 reading expected in a FactSet survey of analysts.

But the tone was set by China. The Caixin China manufacturing PMI fell to 47.3 in August, its lowest point in more than six years. Separately, China's official manufacturing gauge showed activity in August slipped to a three-year low (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/china-factory-activity-slips-to-3-year-low-2015-09-01) of 49.7. A reading below 50 indicates contraction in the sector.

Shares of miners, which can be sensitive to developments in China, struggled. BHP Billiton PLC (>> BHP Billiton plc)(>> BHP Billiton Limited) (>> BHP Billiton Limited), the world's largest mining company, slid 6.7%, and Anglo American PLC (>> Anglo American plc) lost 7.6%. Glencore PLC (>> Glencore PLC) slumped 10%.

Luxury-goods maker Burberry PLC (>> Burberry Group plc)(>> Burberry Group plc), which counts China as a key market, dropped 5%.

Looking at the broader U.K. economy, "given that China makes up only a small proportion of U.K. exports, the direct impact of a slowing in that nation is likely to be minimal," said Rob Dobson, senior economist at Markit, in a statement accompanying the PMI data. "However, it is too early to say what the indirect impact may be if there is any knock-on effect for broader global economic growth."

In Chinese equity trading, the Shanghai Composite closed 1.2% lower.

Read: Craig Stephen: Beijing's incompetence is now China's biggest problem (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/beijings-incompetence-is-now-chinas-biggest-problem-2015-08-31)

Elsewhere in London, oil-company shares dropped as oil prices tumbled more than 7% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-pull-back-after-breathless-rally-2015-09-01-3103369). Major oil companies Royal Dutch Shell PLC (>> Royal Dutch Shell Plc) (>> Royal Dutch Shell Plc) and BP PLC (>> BP plc)(>> BP plc) fell 3.6% and 3.1%, respectively. Energy engineering services Weir Group PLC (>> Weir Group PLC) fell 3.5%. Weir was under the additional pressure of likely being removed from the FTSE 100 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/berkeley-to-join-ftse-100-index-weir-to-drop-out-2015-09-01) later this month.

Shares of AstraZeneca PLC (>> AstraZeneca plc) (>> AstraZeneca plc) lost 2.1%. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (>> Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc) has reached a deal with AstraZeneca for the rights to sell psoriasis treatment brodalumab (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/valeant-astrazeneca-strike-psoriasis-drug-deal-2015-09-01). As part of the agreement, Valeant will pay AstraZeneca $100 million upfront.

European stocks (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-markets-fall-as-weak-factory-data-piles-on-pressure-2015-09-01) dropped nearly 3% Tuesday on the Chinese data and mixed manufacturing-sector readings from the eurozone.

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