By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch
LONDON (MarketWatch) — Most U.K. stocks headed south on Tuesday, with Rio Tinto PLC among major losers after scrapping plans to convert a refinery to run on gas.
The Bank of England was also in the spotlight as Governor Mark Carney’s gave testimony before the Treasury Committee at which he said that forward guidance has been well understood by the business community. The central-bank boss also criticized the quality of some economic data that officials receive from the U.K.’s statistics agency, including data judged crucial to setting monetary policy.
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The FTSE 100 index /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.56% dropped 0.9% to close at 6,636.22, erasing a 0.3% gain from Monday.
Shares of heavyweight miner Rio Tinto /zigman2/quotes/208934945/delayed UK:RIO -0.27% /zigman2/quotes/202627887/composite RIO +0.33% /zigman2/quotes/200083756/delayed AU:RIO +2.45% weighed on the benchmark, moving 1.7% lower after it dropped a plan to convert the Gove alumina refinery to run on natural gas. The company had hoped the conversion would sharply reduce costs.
Other miners were also on the decline as most metals prices moved lower, with shares of Anglo American PLC /zigman2/quotes/201381512/delayed UK:AAL +1.42% down 2.7% and BHP Billiton PLC /zigman2/quotes/208108397/composite BHP -0.41% /zigman2/quotes/201448516/delayed AU:BHP +2.39% off 1.8%.
Diageo PLC /zigman2/quotes/205611832/delayed UK:DGE +0.15% /zigman2/quotes/208129584/composite DEO +0.06% dropped 1.6%. The U.K. Office of Fair Trade said Monday it is considering an offer from the global drinks firm to sell most of its Whyte & Mackay business to address competition concerns.
Oil firms continued their decline from Monday, when a sharp drop in oil prices after the Iranian deal to curb the country’s nuclear program sent the sector lower. Shares of Tullow Oil PLC /zigman2/quotes/205079109/delayed UK:TLW +4.57% dropped 1.7%, BP PLC lost 0.6%, and BG Group PLC gave up 1%.
Shares of De La Rue PLC /zigman2/quotes/206574260/delayed UK:DLAR -1.20% surged 9.4% after the currency printer reported a 19% rise in first-half pretax profit.