By Barbara Kollmeyer
Stocks struggled in London on Tuesday, with mining companies dragging the main index south and tracking weak metals prices. Shares of JD Sports Fashion surged after a record first half.
The FTSE 100 index /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.02% was flat at 7,061.57, while the pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD +0.5245% rose nearly 0.5% to $1.3907 as the U.S. dollar /zigman2/quotes/210598269/delayed DXY -0.21% slumped following slightly softer-than-expected consumer prices.
The biggest moves for London came for mining companies. Shares of heavily weighted Rio Tinto /zigman2/quotes/202627887/composite RIO +0.73% /zigman2/quotes/208934945/delayed UK:RIO +0.72% fell 1%, BHP Group /zigman2/quotes/203323256/delayed UK:BHP +0.61% /zigman2/quotes/208108397/composite BHP 0.0000% slid 1.2% and Anglo American /zigman2/quotes/201381512/delayed UK:AAL -0.53% shares fell 1.7%.
The losses came as December palladium futures /zigman2/quotes/221433715/delayed PAZ21 +3.84% slumped 4.6% to $1,983.50 an ounce. The industrial metal is used largely to make catalytic converters in gasoline-powered vehicles to help keep emissions down. The metal is also used for the photovoltaic sector and electric vehicle market, and has also seen gains on hopes for growth in that area. Copper prices slipped 1% to $4.32 a pound and platinum prices /zigman2/quotes/219800830/delayed PLV21 +0.53% fell 2.5% to $933.30 an ounce.
“The chip shortage and the resulting fall in production in the automotive industry are apparently having an impact on the palladium price. After all, this is bound to reduce demand for palladium,” said Commerzbank analyst Daniel Briesemann, in a note to clients.
Elsewhere, the retail sector was active, with shares of JD Sports Fashion /zigman2/quotes/207007202/delayed UK:JD +1.55% surging 9% as the FTSE 100’s best gainer, after the sports-goods retailer said first-half profits rose to record-high levels, and that it expects to achieve a headline pretax profit of at least 750 million pounds ($1.04 billion) for 2021 overall. JD Sports also owns U.S.-based sports retailer The Finish Line, after an acquisition in 2018.