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LONDON MARKETS: BHP Billiton Drops In London After Downgrade

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02/21/2013 | 11:47am CET

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch

LONDON (MarketWatch) -- Mining firms led U.K. stocks lower on Thursday, with sector heavyweight BHP Billiton PLC leading the charge south after a broker downgrade, while business-activity data from the euro zone weighed on broader sentiment.

The FTSE 100 index lost 1.3% to 6,310.12.

Shares of BHP Billiton (>> BHP Billiton Limited) lost 3.6%, after Citigroup cut the miner to neutral form buy, saying that positive catalysts such as capital-expenditure cuts and cost reductions are now priced in.

Other mining firms were also on the decline, as most metals prices headed south. Shares of Rio Tinto PLC (>> Rio Tinto plc) shaved off 2.5%, Vedanta Resources PLC fell 2.3% and Anglo American PLC gave up 1.6%. .

Oil prices dropped, adding pressure on U.K. oil firms. Shares of BG Group PLC erased 1.3%, Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB) fell 1.2% and BP PLC (>> BP plc) eased 1.1%. .

For the broader stock market, investors reacted to lackluster macroeconomic data from the euro zone. The preliminary composite purchasing-managers' index for the region slumped to a two-month low of 47.3 in February from a January reading of 48.6, coming in below analysts' expectations. .

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index gave up 1.1% 285.86. .

Banks were among major decliners in London. Lloyds Banking Group PLC u dropped 2.2%, Barclays PLC (>> Barclays PLC) fell 1.8% and Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (>> Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc) lost 1.5%. Heavyweight HSBC Holdings PLC (>> HSBC Holdings plc) eased 1.4%.

On a more upbeat note in London, shares of BAE Systems PLC jumped 4.2%, after the aerospace and defense firm said it sees modest earnings-per-share growth in 2013 and launched a three-year one billion pound ($1.5 billion) shares buyback program. and .

Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

Valeurs citées dans l'article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ANGLO AMERICAN 3.26% 1796.6 Delayed Quote.11.39%
BAE SYSTEMS 0.94% 601.4 Delayed Quote.3.18%
BARCLAYS 0.52% 202.1 Delayed Quote.-2.26%
BHP BILLITON LIMITED -4.76% 29.81 End-of-day quote.6.15%
BHP BILLITON PLC 0.24% 1494 Delayed Quote.4.96%
BP -0.59% 472.2 Delayed Quote.-10.13%
FTSE 100 INDEX 0.28% 7234.11 End-of-day quote.-5.90%
LLOYDS BANKING GROUP 2.76% 69.72 Delayed Quote.-1.44%
RIO TINTO 0.64% 4016 Delayed Quote.4.66%
RIO TINTO LIMITED -1.64% 80.26 End-of-day quote.8.28%
ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND GROUP 0.91% 277.4 Delayed Quote.-1.04%
ROYAL DUTCH SHELL -0.29% 25.75 Delayed Quote.-7.54%
VEDANTA RESOURCES 0.08% 745.4 Delayed Quote.-5.63%
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