Britain's blue-chip index retreated on Wednesday from its six-month high after a Brazilian court allowed Vale to resume operations at a major mine, potentially increasing iron ore supplies and lowering its price. The FTSE 100, which had climbed to its highest since early October the day before, was 0.3 per cent lower by 0710 GMT. Midcaps fell 0.1 per cent.
The sentiment was sour despite a rise in Asian shares after Chinese economic reports beat expectations, a sign that Beijing's stimulus may finally be paying off in the world's second-largest economy. Mining shares lost 2 per cent and were on course for their worst day in six weeks after reports that Vale SA expected to resume operations at its Brucutu mine within 72 hours.
London-listed shares in Rio Tinto fell nearly 3 per cent and BHP Group, the world's biggest mining company, gave up 2.3 per cent after cutting its target for iron ore output following a tropical cyclone. Business supplies distributor Bunzl fell 11.7 per cent after reporting a slowdown in quarterly growth. The grocery and retail business was sluggish in its biggest market, North America. The decline put Bunzl on course for its worst day in nearly three decades.
Among midcaps, Telecom Plus slipped 3 per cent after warning that full-year profit would be lower than expected. Revenue in the fourth quarter partly hurt by a price cap imposed by Britain's energy regulator. London-listed shares of Mediclinic rose by more than 8 per cent. The company forecast annual core profit would fall in line with the market expectations.
Pendragon led losses in the small-cap index, dropping almost 8 per cent after it said it would review its operational and financial prospects under its new management after margin pressures led it to report a quarterly loss.
(With inputs from agencies.)