LONDON MARKETS: Miners, Sainsbury's Yank FTSE 100 Into The Red

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

ITV shares fall after CEO steps down

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U.K. stocks dropped on Wednesday, driven lower by falling commodity stocks on the back of a drop in metals prices and grocer Sainsbury's sliding after a dividend cut.

The FTSE 100 index lost 0.2% to 7,234.76, paring back from a 0.6% gain on Tuesday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftse-100-advances-with-bp-rising-manufacturing-report-on-deck-2017-05-02).

ITV PLC (ITV.LN) led the list of decliners, down 1.9%, after the commercial broadcaster said Chief Executive Adam Crozier is stepping down (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/itv-ceo-adam-crozier-to-step-down-2017-05-03) on June 30 after seven years in the role.

Shares of J Sainsbury PLC (SBRY.LN) also added pressure, declining 2.2%. The supermarket giant reported a 0.6% fall in full-year like-for-like sales and cut dividends 16% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/sainsburys-cuts-dividend-as-full-year-sales-fall-2017-05-03).

The top four U.K. supermarkets -- Sainsbury's, Tesco PLC (TSCO.LN) , Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) subsidiary Asda and Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC (MRW.LN) -- all lost market share (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/top-4-uk-supermarkets-get-easter-egg-sales-boost-2017-05-03) to German low-cost retailers Aldi and Lidl in the first three months of the year, even as their sales got a boost from spending on Easter eggs and hot cross buns, Kantar Worldpanel reported.

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More broadly, mining companies were the biggest drag on the FTSE 100 as a slide in metals prices drove investors out of those stocks. Shares of Antofagasta PLC (ANTO.LN) fell 1.4%, BHP Billiton PLC (BLT.LN) (BHP.AU) (BHP.AU) lost 1.4%, and Rio Tinto (RIO) (RIO) (RIO) gave up 0.7%.

On a more upbeat note, shares in Sage Group PLC (SGE.LN) rose 1.5%. The software company reported a rise (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/sage-pretax-profit-rises-lifts-dividend-2017-05-03) in net profit the first half of the fiscal year and raised its dividend.

The pound slipped back to $1.2927 from $1.2939 late Tuesday in New York.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 03, 2017 04:19 ET (08:19 GMT)