December 8, 2014 / 9:06 AM / 5 years ago

FTSE flounders as commodity stocks crumble

LONDON (Reuters) - The FTSE 100 retreated on Monday, with commodity stocks hurt by a new drop in the oil price and concerns about the pace of global economic growth, after disappointing data from China.

A man walks past the London Stock Exchange in the City of London October 11, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

The shares of energy services group Weir also slumped by 5.3 percent after U.S.-based brokerage Cowen & Company cut its price target on the stock.

Weir was the worst-performing stock - in percentage terms - on the blue chip FTSE 100 index which ended down 1.1 percent at 6,672.15 points, losing all the ground made after a 1 percent rise on Friday.

The UK mining index fell 1.2 percent after data showed China’s imports shrank unexpectedly in November while export growth slowed, fuelling concerns about an economic slowdown.

Energy stocks also came under pressure, with the UK oil and gas index falling 2.1 percent as oil prices shed more than $2 a barrel to a new five-year low.

BP was further impacted after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected BP’s challenge to its multibillion-dollar settlement agreement over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

“Commodity stocks will continue to reflect a slowing Chinese economy,” said John Smith, senior fund manager at Brown Shipley.

Smith expected further selling of the FTSE in coming weeks, while Logic Investments’ director of trading Darren Easton expected the index to rally into the end of 2014.

“We’re looking to buy on the dip. We think this month will see the typical Christmas rally in the market, and we think the FTSE should end in the 6,800-6,900 point range”, he said.

Mark Burgess, chief investment officer at Threadneedle Investments, also remained upbeat, saying UK equities continued to offer an attractive dividend yield in spite of the headwinds from the hit to the market’s commodity stocks.

“We continue to like UK equities, and believe that the FTSE’s 3.3 percent dividend yield should remain an attractive characteristic in a world where 10-year German government bonds yield just 0.7 percent,” said Burgess.

Additional reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Catherine Evans and John Stonestreet

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