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European stocks dip as heavyweight miners fall

08:49, 14 September 2021

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An iron-ore mine
Iron-ore miners fall as China steelmakers curb production – Photo: Shutterstock

European equity markets dipped on Tuesday as losses for heavily-weighted London miners offset gains in retail services stocks.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was down 0.1%, while the Paris CAC 40 was down 0.5%. The DAX 30 in Frankfurt, however, managed to reclaim positive territory after early losses, up 0.2%.

The FTSE 100 in London was 0.2% lower at 7,054, held back by the mining sector – particularly iron-ore producers, as the price of the commodity fell to a nine-month low.

Miners fall

Anglo American was doubly hit as platinum prices were also lower – down 0.7% on the day at $951 an ounce and trading at around their worst levels for 10 months. Anglo, the world's biggest producer of platinum, fell 1.7% to £30.39.

London-listed shares of Australian iron-ore miner BHP Group fell 1.3% to £20.53 while rival Aussie firm Rio Tinto was down 1.5% at £52.06.

Russia-focused iron and steel miner and producer Evraz fell 2.2% to £5.98, while FTSE 250-listed Ferrexpo fell 3.0% to £3.67.

Iron ore prices were trading at their lowest levels since December 2020 as demand from Chinese steelmakers has slipped in recent months.

"Yunnan province in China has ordered steel and aluminium producers to make further cuts to output for the remainder of the year in order to meet energy intensity reduction goals," said Warren Patterson, head of commodities strategy at ING.

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He added: "The steel industry will need to delay some planned production for September to the last two months of the year, while still ensuring that output this year falls."

Leisure and retail higher

Leisure and retail stocks were supported by strong revenue and profit growth at JD Sports Fashion. The company's shares were the biggest gainers on the FTSE 100 – up 8.7% at £11.40.

Lower down the market, shares in WHSmith gained 3.6% to £16.20 after it was revealed Causeway Capital, the activist investor, had built up a 9.05% stake to become the high street retailer's biggest shareholder.

Read more: Iron ore falls below $140 on China’s steel output curb

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