U.K. stocks slipped Wednesday, with commodity shares in the red, including mining heavyweight Rio Tinto PLC after underlying earnings were a disappointment.
The FTSE 100 shed 0.1% at 7,41.4.81, weighed largely by losses for basic material and oil and gas stocks. But the benchmark's overall decline was limited by gains for industrial, utility and consumer-related shares.
Rio Tinto shares (RIO) (RIO) (RIO) were circling the bottom of the benchmark as they fell 2.3%. The iron ore producer's first-half underlying earnings rose to $3.9 billion, but that was below a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of $4.19 billion. Rio did say it will buy back a further $1 billion in shares (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/rio-tinto-ups-buyback-plans-as-profit-jumps-2017-08-02) and that debt has been reduced.
Other mining shares traded lower, with iron ore miner BHP Billiton PLC (BLT.LN) (BHP.AU) (BHP.AU) down 1.1%, Glencore PLC (GLEN.LN) gave up 1% as did copper miner Antofagasta PLC (ANTO.LN).
Meanwhile, oil prices slumped 1%, extending losses from late Tuesday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-extends-losses-as-oversupply-fears-return-us-data-loom-2017-08-02) after the American Petroleum Institute said U.S. crude inventories unexpectedly rose last week, by 1.8 million barrels. U.S. government data on weekly supplies is due later Wednesday. Shares of oil majors BP PLC (BP.LN) (BP.LN) and Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN) (RDSB.LN) fell 0.8% and 0.6%, respectively.
The pound traded hands at $1.3210, little changed from $1.3205 late Tuesday in New York, ahead of a reading on construction activity in July. That's due at 9:30 a.m. London time, or 4:30 a.m. Eastern Time.
See:Confusion reigns for investors ahead of Bank of England's 'Super Thursday' (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/confusion-reigns-for-investors-ahead-of-bank-of-englands-super-thursday-2017-08-01)
Stock movers: RSA Insurance Group PLC (RSA.LN) fell 3% even as the company said first-half earnings rose to GBP196 million (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/rsa-insurance-profit-up-amid-restructuring-2017-08-02)($259 million), aided by its restructuring program.
BAE Systems PLC shares (BA.LN)(BA.LN) drove up 3.1% as the weapons maker posted a 11% increase in first-half underlying earnings before interest, taxes and amortization to GBP945 million.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
August 02, 2017 04:05 ET (08:05 GMT)