London - Britain's top share index fell for a second straight session on Tuesday, led lower by miners, with the US fiscal standoff and a dip in Chinese services sector data prompting investors to trim their trading positions.
A US government shutdown entering its second week is causing deep uncertainty over a deadline later this month for raising the country's debt ceiling, though President Barack Obama said on Monday he would accept a short-term hike in the country's borrowing authority.
“The fact that the clock is ticking, it's just adding to nerves. The delay in resolving the issue is a potential knock to confidence,” Keith Bowman, analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown said.
“Data from China provides another note of caution as the numbers are disappointing and are having a drag effect on the mining sector.”
The services sector data from China, the world's biggest metals consumer, showing business confidence fell slightly in September, hurt the UK mining sector. The data, however, had little impact on Chinese shares as retailers were boosted by strong Golden Week holiday spending.
The UK mining index fell 1.3 percent, with BHP Billiton dropping 1.6 percent and Rio Tinto down 1.3 percent.
At 10:03 SA time, the blue-chip FTSE 100 index was down 13.29 points, or 0.2 percent, at 6,423.99, after falling 0.3 percent in the previous session.
Among individual movers, retailer Marks & Spencer fell 2.9 percent, the biggest decliner on the FTSE 100 index, after Bernstein cut its stance on the stock to “underperform” from “market perform” and cut its price target to 420 pence from 445 pence.
“Marks & Spencer's share price has risen 29 Percent year-to-date ... as investors anticipate a turnaround at the General Merchandise division. But we are sceptical that a dramatic turnaround will materialise in the near term,” Bernstein said in a note.
“We do not expect M&S to see significantly better results in the near term. As a result, we expect investors may be disappointed by results in the next 18 months and view the stock as overvalued.”
Marks & Spencer's share volumes were 65 percent of its 90-day daily average in the first hour of trading, against just 10 percent for the broader FTSE 100 index. - Reuters