FTSE weak as miners retreat; caution ahead of G20

* FTSE 100 index sheds 0.3 percent

* Miners weak; G20 meeting news awaited

* Reckitt Benckiser falls on CFO departure

By Jon Hopkins

LONDON, Oct 22 (BestGrowthStock) – Weakness in heavyweight miners
pulled Britain’s leading shares lower on Friday, with trading
choppy and volumes light, as investors awaited news from a Group
of 20 nations meeting in South Korea.

At the close, the FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) was 16.49 points, or 0.3
percent, lower at 5,741.37, retreating after hitting a six-month
closing high in the previous session.

Miners (.FTNMX1770: ) were among the worst blue chip
performers on worries over whether financial leaders at the G20
meeting will agree on countering currency imbalances, which have
been lifting the dollar and depressing metal prices.

“The market has really been held back by uncertainty ahead
of the G20 meeting with the whole business of QE2 (quantitative
easing) in the background,” said David Morrison, market
strategist at GFT Global.

“Ultimately we have to worry about currency movements, with
the stock market inversely correlated to the dollar, being
hostage to the miners and metal prices.”

BHP Billiton (BLT.L: ) shed 0.5 percent. The Canadian province
of Saskatchewan, home to Potash Corp (POT.TO: ), said it opposed
BHP’s $39 billion bid to buy the fertilizer supplier, setting
the stage for a politically charged final decision by the
country’s federal government. [ID:nN2199148]

Vedanta (VED.L: ) was a top faller among the blue chip miners,
down 1.9 percent as Merrill Lynch downgraded its rating for the
Indian-focused firm to “neutral” from, “buy”.

Oil services firm Petrofac (PFC.L: ) lost 1 percent after BofA
Merrill Lynch downgraded its recommendation to “neutral” from
“buy” on valuation grounds.

Reckitt Benckiser (RB.L: ) was the top FTSE 100 faller, down
4.6 percent after the consumer products group said its chief
financial officer Colin Day would leave the company in March
2011. [ID:nLDE69L1HE]

U.S. blue chips were 0.2 percent lower by London’s close
with investors skittish ahead of the G20 meeting outcome.

ENERGY BOOST

Energy issues provided the main underlying strength for blue
chips on Friday as crude (CLc1: ) prices bounced higher, with
Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: ) adding 0.3 percent.

BG Group (BG.L: ) gained 0.8 percent after Australia gave
environmental approval to two coal-seam gas projects worth about
$30 billion, led by BG and Santos (STO.AX: ).

TUI Travel (TT.L: ) was the best FTSE 100 riser, rallying 3.2
percent after shedding more than 11 percent on Thursday when it
revealed its finance chief would quit and restated its 2009
accounts as a result of what it said was a post-merger technical
glitch. [ID:nLDE69K0A4]

BSkyB (BSY.L: ), Britain’s dominant pay-TV firm, added 0.6
percent after posting strong first-quarter profit (Read more your timing to make a profit.)s along with a
better-than-expected rise in customers. [ID:nLDE69K217]

On the second line, Micro Focus International (MCRO.L: ) was
the top FTSE 250 (.FTMC: ) riser, up 7.6 percent with traders
citing talk that the business software group could be a target
for U.S. firm IBM (IBM.N: ).

Technical factors pointed to positive trends for the FTSE
100 index.

“The 20-day moving average currently around 5,661 acts as a
trailing stop and still maintains a bullish bias,” said Nicolas
Suiffet, an analyst at Trading Central.

(Editing by Karen Foster)

FTSE weak as miners retreat; caution ahead of G20