Another day, another splurge of company results, with mixed receptions.
Antofagasta has fallen 25p to 830p despite beating forecasts with a near 6% quarter on quarter increase in second quarter copper output to 178,000. The company, like its peers, has struggled with falling metal prices and rising costs. In the previous quarter output was hit by maintenance at its Los Pelambres and Esperanza operations. It said it was on track to hit its full year target of 700,000 tonnes of copper, and with a $3bn investment programme over the next five years, it expects to increase that to 900,000 tonnes.
But analysts are concerned about future pricing, with Numis saying:
[The] stock [is] trading at 1.3 times net asset value and 18 times PE [and] continues to look pricey here especially if copper price comes off.
Other miners were also weaker, helping to drag the market lower. BHP Billiton has lost 28.5p to 2067.5p while among the mid-caps Vedanta Resources is down 19p at £10.71.
Overall the FTSE 100 is down 9.24 points at 6798.51 as dealers assess the implications of the increased sanctions against Russia over Ukraine. There is also the prospect of a raft of economic data before the weekend, with US GDP later and non-farm payrolls on Friday. Comments from the Federal Reserve later will also be keenly watched for any hints about when US interest rates may rise. The central bank is expected to trim its monthly bond buying programme by another $10bn.
Like Royal Bank of Scotland before it, Barclays has beaten expectations and seen its shares soar. Barclays is up 10.9p at 230p while RBS has gained another 7.2p at 361.2p.
AstraZenecahas added 28p to 4350.5p after it moved to build up its respiratory drugs business with a $2.1bn deal for the rights to Spanish group Almirali's lung treatments.