Britain’s markets fell as concerns about global growth, and the impact on company earnings, unsettled investors. The downbeat tone was set when the World Bank cut its growth forecasts for China, from 9.3% in 2011 to 7.7% this year, overnight.
The FTSE 100 shed 0.5%, or 29 points, to 5,841 and the Mid-250 index gave up 0.72%, or 86 points, to 11,974.
Industrial materials supplier Cookson (CKSN.L) tumbled 75p, or 12.2%, to 540p after it issued a profit warning. The downturn in global steel production has hit revenues from its ceramics division.
Euro falls as eurozone finance ministers meet
Eurozone finance ministers gathered in Luxembourg to discuss the region’s debt crisis, with Spanish and Greek finances at the top of the agenda.
The euro fell against the dollar ahead of the meeting, down 0.45% to $1.2968, as investors remained cautious about the outcome of the meeting.
Other stock markets in Europe also retreated: Germany’s DAX index slid 1.44% to 7,291, France's CAC 40 index lost 1.46% to 3,406, and the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares fell 0.92% to 1,101.
There was no movement on Wall Street as US markets were closed for a bank holiday. Investors can look forward to the US third-quarter earnings season, which kicks off tomorrow.
Hargreaves Services may close mine
Coal miner and transporter Hargreaves Services (HSP.L) added 9p, or 1.25, to 738p amid news that 540 employees at its Maltby mine in South Yorkshire have been served redundancy notices.
Questions were raised over coal production at the mine last month when it reported that unusually high levels of water, oil and gas had been discovered at the site. The company is awaiting further geological reports.