By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch
LONDON (MarketWatch) — The U.K.’s benchmark stock index ended lower Monday, erasing gains after U.S. data showed unexpected weakness and mining firms lost ground.
The FTSE 100 index /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -0.38% dropped 0.1% to settle at 6,280.62, after closing out last week with a 1.5% loss.
Europe: Rate-cut talk in focus
Key data, talk of a rate cut from the European Central Bank and the latest political machinations in Italy are likely to keep the euro zone very much in focus. First-quarter gross domestic product data from the U.S. will also offer markets direction. Photo: Reuters
The index traded as high as 6,341.98 earlier in the session, but dropped in afternoon action, after data from the U.S. showed existing-home sales unexpectedly declined 0.6% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.92 million.
Mining firms posted some of the biggest losses, pulling back after solid performances at the end of last week.
Shares of Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. lost 2.4%. The miner soared 27% on Friday, after one of the company’s founding shareholders said he was considering making a bid for the company.
Kazakhmys PLC /zigman2/quotes/208098927/delayed UK:KAZ +0.16% , which owns a 26% stake in ENRC, rallied 26% on Friday, but gave back 8.3% in Monday’s action.
Other miners were also lower, even as metals prices were mixed. BHP Billiton PLC /zigman2/quotes/208108397/composite BHP -0.92% /zigman2/quotes/201448516/delayed AU:BHP -1.25% fell 1.1% and Anglo American PLC /zigman2/quotes/201381512/delayed UK:AAL -0.66% lost 0.3%.
Shares of miner Rio Tinto PLC /zigman2/quotes/208934945/delayed UK:RIO -0.24% /zigman2/quotes/202627887/composite RIO -2.03% /zigman2/quotes/200083756/delayed AU:RIO -0.84% dropped 1.1%. The firm said it appealed an Australian court ruling blocking plans to extend the life of one of its coal mines.
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Banks posted some of the biggest gains in the index, after a statement from the Group of 20 major economies late Friday helped lift sentiment. G-20 leaders refrained from criticizing Japan for easing policies that have recently sent the yen to multiyear lows — which was widely interpreted as the international community offering its support for Tokyo’s monetary stimulus. See: Approval ratings for Japan PM jump as Abenomics takes hold .
Shares of Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC added 2%, Lloyds Banking Group PLC /zigman2/quotes/202285510/delayed UK:LLOY -1.50% /zigman2/quotes/200709414/composite LYG -4.31% advanced 3.5% and Barclays PLC /zigman2/quotes/208409333/delayed UK:BARC -1.69% /zigman2/quotes/206581728/composite BCS -4.74% gained 1.1%.