UK stocks continue to slide

The FTSE 100 slid 39 points on Wednesday to close at 6,192.

FTSE 100 down 0.6% to 6,192 Gold down 0.2% to $1,212.98/oz £/$ 1.4416

The FTSE 100 slid 39 points on Wednesday to close at 6,192.

Building materials distributor Wolseley was the day's biggest loser, down 5.5%. Supermarket Sainsbury's followed with a 4.3% loss. And miner Rio Tinto was 3.8% lower.

But it wasn't all bad news for miners. Fresnillo rose 2.3%, while biotech stock Shire topped the index with a 2.8% gain.

In Europe yesterday, the Paris CAC 40 fell 31 points to 4,475, and the German Xetra Dax lost 59 points to 10,204.

In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged almost three points higher to 17,790, the S&P 500 gained 0.1% to 2,099, as did the Nasdaq Composite to 4,952.

Overnight in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 2.3% to 16,563, and the broader Topix index slipped 2.2% to 1,332. And in China, the Shanghai Composite rose 0.4% to 2,925, and the CSI 300 added 0.2% to 3,167.

Brent spot was trading at $49.97 early today, and in New York, crude oil was at $49.11. Spot gold was trading at $1,216 an ounce, silver was at $15.95 and platinum was at $974.

In the forex markets this morning, sterling was trading against the US dollar at 1.4438 and against the euro at 1.2880. The dollar was trading at 0.8920 against the euro and 109.02 against the Japanese yen.

And in the UK, underlying profits in Johnson Matthey's emission control technologies business have riven by 15%, largely thanks to the car emissions scandal. But that was offset by a "difficult year" in its chemicals and metals divisions, where annual pre-tax profits were down by a fifth.

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