AFP

London - Britain's top equity index edged lower on Tuesday, weighed down by weaker mining stocks and a dip in bank HSBC.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index fell 0.1 percent to 6,780.90 points. The FTSE remains up by more than 3 percent since the start of 2015 but is some 5 percent below a record high of 7,122.74 points set in April.

Miners Anglo American and Rio Tinto both fell by more than 2 percent after investment bank Societe Generale cut its ratings on the two companies.

HSBC also dipped 0.2 percent after announcing plans to slash jobs, take an axe to its investment bank and shrink its risk-weighted assets by $290 billion in an effort to improve its sluggish performance.

Traders said that while it was pleasing that HSBC was providing more clarity over its future structure, the bank's strategic overhaul meant domestic rivals such as Lloyds looked like better bets in terms of near-term growth.

Lloyds' shares were up 0.6 percent, and the bank has started to win more favour from investors as it has a bigger exposure to Britain's domestic economic recovery compared to more global banks such as HSBC and Standard Chartered.

“Whilst HSBC has now provided a much clearer picture of its business structure going forward, if you want a growth stock in the banking sector, HSBC may not be the one for you,” said Dafydd Davies, partner at Charles Hanover Investments.

On the positive side media group Reed Elsevier rose 1.8 percent, lifted by a rating upgrade from Barclays.

Supermarket retailers such as Morrison and Sainsbury also advanced after data showed an increase in British retail sales, with food sales stabilising.

Reuters