FTSE 100 drifts lower as gold stocks rise

Trader watching monitor Image copyright AFP

The FTSE 100 drifted lower on Thursday as investors weighed up fresh economic and corporate numbers.

After a brief recovery, the index finished 0.6% down at 7,388 with gold miners - an investors' favourite in uncertain times - the big risers.

Cautious minutes from the US Federal Reserve, plus mixed signals from UK retail figures unnerved investors.

On the currency markets, sterling was flat against the dollar at $1.2885, but up 0.2% on the euro at 1.0975 euros.

Stronger UK retail sales in July - driven by food - were overshadowed by weak growth figures from Kingfisher, which owns DIY chain B&Q.

Kingfisher shares were the FTSE 100's worst performer, down more than 4%.

Gold firms Fresnillo and Randgold were up 4% and 2% respectively as the price of the precious metal edged higher.

The FTSE 100's open was clouded by the Fed's concerns about inflation.

Outside the top flight, Hikma Pharmaceuticals fell 10% after a disappointing trading update.

Mecca Bingo operator Rank fell 6%. The firm reported that pre-tax profits in the 12 months to 30 June fell 7% to £79.7m, while revenue slipped slightly from £709m to £707m.