By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch
Miners dragged down the top British stock market index on Wednesday as a broker downgraded three of the giants after calling a top on iron ore.
The FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -5.25% lost 0.7% to 7,501.46, the worst performer of the major Europe markets. The mid-cap FTSE 250 /zigman2/quotes/210598417/delayed UK:MCX -3.97% meanwhile rose 0.2% to 19,787.70.
What’s moving markets
The mood in markets was hurt after the U.S. Justice Department announced late Tuesday it was probing the American technology giants that have carried stock markets higher. U.S. stocks wobbled in early trade.
U.K.-listed miners struggled, with Rio Tinto /zigman2/quotes/208934945/delayed UK:RIO -5.92% /zigman2/quotes/202627887/lastsale RIO -4.03% shares losing 4.6%, BHP Group /zigman2/quotes/203323256/delayed UK:BHP -6.88% /zigman2/quotes/208108397/lastsale BHP -5.97% shedding 4% and Anglo American /zigman2/quotes/201381512/delayed UK:AAL -3.15% losing 3.3%. Liberum downgraded all three from buy to hold, citing rising inventories of steel, stalled iron ore port deliveries, declining Chinese steel mill profits and accelerated scrap steel supply.
Credit Suisse separately downgraded Rio Tinto to underperform from neutral. “We now focus on our expectation that iron ore pricing is approaching a turning point with momentum in China port inventory drawdowns slowing and supply continuing to recover,” the downgrade from Credit Suisse said.
Battered U.K. broadcaster ITV /zigman2/quotes/205378065/delayed UK:ITV -7.10% enjoyed some relief, with the stock jumping nearly 7%. The country’s largest commercial broadcaster reported a 16% drop in first-half pretax profit and announced new cost savings. The stock is still down 34% over the last 12 months.
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings /zigman2/quotes/201272201/delayed UK:AML +3.00% shares plunged 26% as the luxury automaker cut its guidance, seeing volumes between 6,300 and 6,500, vs. previous guidance between 7,100 and 7,300. “The challenging external environment highlighted in May has worsened, as have macro-economic uncertainties,” the company said.
Informa /zigman2/quotes/207253704/delayed UK:INF -3.16% shares climbed 6% as the events and publishing company reported a near doubling of its first-half pretax profit as it sees a benefit from buying rival UBM last year.