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Economic worries push FTSE 100 lower



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FTSE 100 Index

Last Updated at 21 Nov 2017, 16:21 GMT *Chart shows local time FTSE 100 intraday chart
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(Close): London's benchmark index closed lower on Thursday, following weak economic data from China and the eurozone.

The FTSE 100 ended down 17.70 points, or 0.26%, at 6678.90, led by falls in miners Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.

They sank more than 2.6% on news that China's factory activity had slowed, while another miner, Anglo American dropped 2.2%.

Platinum specialist Johnson Matthey led the FTSE 100, rising 6%.

The firm reported better-than-expected results and upgraded its profit forecast.

Engineering contractor Babcock rose 5.9% to after it reported a strong rise in pre-tax profits.

Britain's largest energy supplier, Centrica, fell 1.6% after the British Gas owner said a mild winter was hurting its earnings, and warned of future profits being reduced due to falling oil prices.

"It's not surprising that the market is reacting to weak commodity prices and disappointing Chinese data," Henk Potts, director of global research at Barclays, said.

"China has been the key influence in commodity markets over the course of the past 15 to 20 years, but the country is slowly going through a transition, moving away from being a manufacturing powerhouse. Its influence on commodity markets is likely to diminish," he said.

Shares were also undermined by more worries about the eurozone's economic health. Data company Markit's gauge of business activity slowed to a 16-month low of 51.4 in November from 52.1 in October.

However, a reading above 50 still indicates growth.

Several FTSE 100 companies went ex-dividend on Thursday - including National Grid, Sainsbury and Vodafone - which helped push the index lower.

In the currency markets, the pound went up 0.03% against the dollar, making £1 worth $1.5687, and 0.25% against the euro, making £1 worth €1.2522.