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UK shares head for worst one-day fall in over a week
September 1, 2015 / 10:53 AM / 2 years ago

UK shares head for worst one-day fall in over a week

* FTSE 100 down 2.1 pct after China data

* All FTSE 100 components in negative territory

* Mining stocks BHP Billiton, Anglo American down over 4 pct (Updates prices, recasts)

By Lionel Laurent and Kit Rees

LONDON, Sept 1 (Reuters) - UK shares fell more than 2 percent on Tuesday, set for their worst one-day fall in over a week after weak manufacturing data in China - the world’s biggest commodity consumer - rattled global markets.

All FTSE 100 stocks were in negative territory at 1034 GMT on Tuesday, London’s first trading day of the week after a public holiday on Monday.

Policymakers worldwide have turned more interventionist with a surge in market volatility to levels not seen since the 2008 financial crisis. China’s central bank has already repeatedly intervened to stabilise the yuan since its Aug. 11 devaluation sent shockwaves through global markets.

”We are sellers across the board,“ said Mark Ward, head of execution trading at London-based Sanlam Securities. ”People are getting back from holidays and trying to make sense of what is going on.

“The China headlines are not helping but I would say it’s probably more down to sentiment than a huge shift in the actual economic outlook.”

The FTSE 100 was down 2.1 percent, in line with the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300, also down 2.1 percent.

“As it stands we’ve pretty much wiped off any of the gains we saw last Friday ... it does seem like this could be another return to the lows we saw last week, particularly if we don’t see any effects from the Chinese interventions any time soon,” said Brenda Kelly, head analyst at London Capital Group.

China’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 49.7 in August from the previous month’s reading of 50.0, the weakest showing in three years.

Analysts also pointed to the weak UK PMI data released this morning, which showed that manufacturing activity slowed in Britain last month, confounding expectations of a rise.

“With weak manufacturing PMI even here in the UK, there’s been very little to give investors much to get excited about just over the morning or so, but things can change in the afternoon,” Kelly added.

Miners Glencore, Anglo American and BHP Billiton were down more than 4 percent as metals prices fell on China demand fears.

In the mid caps, China worries also hit shares of hedge-fund manager Man Group, down 4.5 percent after the boss of its China unit was reportedly taken into custody as part of a probe into recent market volatility. (Reporting by Lionel Laurent; Editing by John Stonestreet and Raissa Kasolowsky)

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