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FTSE 100 lower as energy and mining stocks drop

written by Bella Palmer

The FTSE 100 closed down 32.2 points, 0.43%, to 7,489.19

The London Stock Exchange sank lower on Wednesday as energy and mining stocks dragged on the leading index.

It comes amid continuing bleak sentiment from economic powerhouse China, which reported worse-than-expected trading figures for November.

This is despite the fact that hopes were raised earlier in the morning on news that the Chinese government would be moderating its Covid restrictions after two years of ‘perpetual restrictions and lockdowns’, analysts said.

Nevertheless, a strong performance for healthcare stocks helped narrow the losses for the FTSE 100.

GSK saw its share price shoot up by more than 8% after a US judge dismissed a well-documented lawsuit claiming that its heartburn drug Zantac caused a risk of cancer.

The pharmaceutical giant has continuously given assurances that there is no cancer risk in using the drug, which was recalled in 2019 after regulators raised concerns.

Healthcare giants Haleon, Dechra Pharmaceuticals and AstraZeneca were also floating towards the top of the blue-chip index.

But it was not enough to pull the FTSE 100 out of the red and it closed down 32.2 points, 0.43%, to 7,489.19.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: European markets have remained on the back foot today after the latest China trade numbers for November saw both imports and exports fall off a cliff.

The surprise wasn’t in the fact that the numbers were weak, it’s how weak they were, with exports plunging 8.7%. Some of the reasons have been well documented, the unrest at the Foxconn plant on Zhengzhou being one such example, he said.

Imports also plunged by more than expected at 10.6%, the worst month since May 2020, as Chinese domestic demand continued to struggle in the face of over two years of perpetual restrictions and lockdowns, he said.

It was a similar story for European stocks elsewhere, which had also fallen at close. The German Dax was down 0.57% and the French Cac had dipped 0.41%.

US stocks were on the backfoot when European markets closed, with the S&P 500 down by 0.21% and Dow Jones down by about 0.05%.

In better news for the UK, the pound was up 0.5% to 1.2193 against the US dollar, and up 0.2% to 1.1607 against the euro.


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