Miners, energy firms weigh on London stocks amid China property woes

By Siddarth S and Khushi Singh

(Reuters) -UK’s exporter-heavy FTSE 100 edged lower on Monday, weighed down by shares in miners and oil firms, as worries mounted over China’s economic recovery and its debt-laden property market.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 and the more domestically focussed FTSE 250 lost 0.2% each, with both indexes closing at near four week lows.

Concerns over China’s property market worsened after the onshore bonds of Country Garden, the country’s top property developer, were suspended.

The move deepened the Chinese property giant’s debt problems and dealt a fresh blow to policymakers trying to shore up confidence in a stuttering economy.

“I do not think we are going to see such an economically dominant China as we have been used to,” said Stuart Cole, chief macro economist at Equiti Capital.

Industrial metal miners were the worst hit, with the subindex slipping 2.3% on lower base metal prices amid heightened concerns over China’s property landscape. [MET/L]

Energy stocks fell 1.0% as crude prices eased over concerns about China’s faltering economic recovery and a stronger dollar. [O/R]

Meanwhile, British employers expect to raise pay by 5% over the coming year and are increasingly making counteroffers to keep staff who are tempted by higher wages from rival firms, according to a survey.

Shares of Plus500 gained 1.0% after the British online trading platform announced $120 million in shareholder returns.

Discount retailer B&M European Retail rose 3.0% on a price target hike from Deutsche Bank.

(Reporting by Siddarth S and Khushi Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich, Janane Venkatraman and Christina Fincher)