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

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatchFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

ITV shares fall after CEO steps down

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.

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The FTSE 100 index lost 0.2% to 7,234.76, paring back from a 0.6% gain on Tuesday (

ITV PLC (ITV.LN) led the list of decliners, down 1.9%, after the commercial broadcaster said Chief Executive Adam Crozier is stepping down ( 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% (

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 ( 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.

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 ( 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)