FTSE 100 CLOSE: Blue-chips tumble as Randgold downplays Mali coup

Shaky economic indicators and the coup in Mali have led to FSTE 100 ending today’s session with losses, with gold miner Randgold Resources leading the biggest fallers.

The FTSE closed Thursday down 46.3 points at 5,845.65. The blue-chip started the day down after it emerged that the renegade soldiers had overthrown Mali’s presidential palace and Chinese manufacturing had slowed for the fifth month running.

More bad news came in the form of a weaker-than-expected flash purchasing managers’ index suggesting the eurozone has returned to recession and a surprise fall in UK retail sales during February.

Randgold Resources dropped 12.59% to 5,765p. Some of the group’s operations are in Mali, leading the firm to issue assurances that the coup will have a limited effect.

Mark Bristow, chief executive of the gold miner, who is at the firm’s Loulo complex in west Mali, says: “Malians respect laws and I don’t believe this will come with a high-handed change in political direction. (article continues below)

“We don’t expect any subsequent governments to disregard proper and due process.”

Miners accounted for the next four of the day’s biggest fallers. Fresnillo was down 6.68% to 1,621p and Vedanta retreated 4.81% to 1,287p. Antofagasta fell 4.28% to 1,141p while Xstrata dropped 3.06% to 1,107p.

International Airlines Group, Kingfisher, Rexam, Aberdeen Asset Management and Vodafone were the strongest gainers of the session.