(ADVISORY- Follow European and UK stock markets in real time on
the Reuters Live Markets blog on Eikon, see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets)
* FTSE 100 down 0.9 pct
* Mid and small caps outperform
* Anglo American, Glencore, Rio among top fallers
* Iron ore slump weighs on Ferrexpo
* BP falls on lower crude prices
By Helen Reid
LONDON, April 18 British shares followed
European markets down on Tuesday, set for their worst day's fall
in three months as lower metals and crude prices weighed on the
The FTSE 100 hit a seven-week low, down 0.9 percent,
though it pared some losses after sterling fell to a day's low
as investors awaited a statement by Prime Minister Theresa
Sterling's weakness combined with stronger than expected
fundamental economic data had supported the blue-chip index to
record highs in the past months.
"We have a bit of reluctance to chase things much further,
until you get another round of evidence," said Ian Williams,
economics and strategy analyst at Peel Hunt, adding that strong
results in the U.S. first-quarter earnings season would be
required to push markets higher.
Mining companies Anglo American, Glencore,
Antofagasta, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton
were top fallers, down as Chinese iron ore futures fell to their
lowest level in three months, with oversupply worries weighing
on steel prices.
Oil major BP was also a top faller, down 2.8 percent
as the price of crude fell. Brent crude reached an eleven-day
low after a U.S. government report indicated rising production.
The mid caps and small caps outperformed the
blue chips, down 0.6 and 0.2 percent respectively, and holding
near all-time highs hit in the last trading session.
"I think people have been pleasantly surprised by how
sanguine companies' management teams have been," said Williams.
"In the last six weeks the mood of companies presenting has been
much more optimistic, and people are asking whether some of the
risk has been priced in already."
The top fallers on the mid-cap index were also all
commodity-linked stocks, led by iron ore pellet producer
Ferrexpo, down 5.2 percent, and miner Evraz
down 6.3 percent.
Among the few risers in mid and small-cap stocks were
shipping services providers James Fisher and Braemar
Shipping Services, up 2.4 and 3.3 percent.
Emerging markets-focused fund manager Ashmore was down 2
percent, despite earlier posting net inflows for the first time
in nearly three years, as investors turned back into developing
(Reporting by Helen Reid; Editing by Angus MacSwan)