Afternoon markets: Bank downgrades fail to dent FTSE

Rebounding copper prices have helped the FTSE 100 to end the day flat, despite the morning starting with a raft of bank downgrades.

The FTSE 100 closed the session just 1.66 points down at 5,399.19, managing to avoid the fallout of Fitch Ratings’ downgrade of six global banks including Barclays.

The main movers of the day are little changed from the morning, with miners posting gains on the back of improving copper prices.

Four of the FTSE’s top five risers were mining stocks, buoyed by news that copper has recovered some of its recent losses. Copper prices are particularly sensitive to economic activity.

Copper specialists Antofagasta and Kazakhmys led the gains. Antofagasta rose 3.80% to 1,173.00p, while Kazakhmys advanced 3.48% to 876.50p. Fresnillo went up 3.11% to 1,559.00p and Xstrata increased 2.42% to 970.90p.

Security firm G4S also closed the day up after gaining 3.07% to hit 258.50p.

The day’s biggest falls were led by Essar Energy, which dropped 4.54% to 184.90p. Investors may have been moved by news that interest rates in India – the firm’s main area of operations – have been held, which some blame for the continued weakness of the rupee.

Man Group fell 4.34% to 127.70p, Investec was closed 3.52% down to 326.10p, Hargreaves Lansdown retreated 2.62% to 423.50p and Capital Shopping Centres dropped 2.40% to 292.40p.

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