FTSE 100 slides as South African-exposed firms hit

Market trader (file picture) Image copyright Getty Images

The London market ended lower, with companies with business interests in South Africa hit after the country's finance minister was sacked.

The removal of Pravin Gordhan after days of speculation sent South Africa's currency, the rand, lower.

Insurer Old Mutual, which has significant interests in South Africa, fell 7.5% in response.

The benchmark FTSE 100 share index was down 46.6 points, or 0.63%, at 7,322.92 by the end of the day.

Other companies with exposure to South Africa's economy were also affected, with private hospital group Mediclinic International falling 6.19%.

Miners also weighed on the index as metal prices fell, with Anglo American down 3.4% and BHP Billiton losing 2.9%.

Direct Line was one of the better performers in the FTSE 100, climbing 1.8%, after a couple of broker upgrades.

HSBC raised its rating on the UK insurance group to "buy", while it was lifted to "overweight" at JP Morgan.

In the FTSE 250, shares in challenger bank Shawbrook soared 11.5% after it received an £842m takeover offer from private equity firms Pollen Street Capital and BC Partners. Shawbrook has rejected the offer.

On the currency markets, the pound climbed 0.54% against the dollar to $1.2536, while against the euro it rose 0.27% to 1.1717 euros.