FTSE weak; Greek debt problems haunt equities

* FTSE 100 down 0.6 pct

* Miners weighed by lower metal prices

* Oils mixed: BP weak after results; Shell lifted by upgrade

By Simon Falush

LONDON, April 27 (BestGrowthStock) – Weakness from miners, pressured
by lower metal prices and mounting concern on the Greek debt
crisis pulled Britain’s leading shares lower and eclipsed some
solid company results, notably from oil giant BP (BP.L: ).

By 0821 GMT, the FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) was down 33.24 points, or
0.6 percent at 5,720.61, reversing all of Monday’s 0.5 percent
gain.

Miners were the biggest weight on the blue chips, with Rio
Tinto (RIO.L: ), Xstrata (XTA.L: ), Lonmin (LMI.L: ), Anglo American
(AAL.L: ), Kazakhmys (KAZ.L: ) and BHP Billiton (BLT.L: ) off 1.3-2.4
percent.

“Miners and oils are a drag, sentiment is being hampered by
the Greek situation, with the German political situation
muddying the waters a bit,” said Giles Watts, head of trading at
City Index.

Germany demanded painful new austerity measures from Greece
in return for badly needed financial aid, depressing the euro
and pressuring stocks in Asia, with metal prices falling as the
dollar strengthened.

Watts added that the next substantial technical resistance
for the FTSE 100 is at around 5,650, so there is scope for
further losses without levels being breached.

Crude (CLc1: ) also fell, taking the shine off first quarter
BP results in which it reported a 135 percent jump in
first-quarter net profits compared with the same period in 2009.

BP (BP.L: ) fell 0.9 percent with the sharp rise in first
quarter profit (Read more your timing to make a profit.)s also overshadowed by fears about the impact of a
worsening oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Among its peers, BG Group (BG.L: ), which reports results
later this week, fell 0.6 percent, while oil explorers Tullow
Oil (TLW.L: ) and Cairn Energy (CNE.L: ) both lost 1.2 percent.

Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: ), gained 0.6 percent however, as
JPMorgan upgraded the stock to “neutral” from “underweight”
ahead of its first-quarter results, due on Wednesday.

PRU GAINS

Insurer Prudential (PRU.L: ) gained 0.7 percent, boosted by a
report in the Daily Telegraph saying shareholder Capital
Research and Management could potentially scupper its $35.5
billion takeover of Asian rival AIA, the prospect of which has
depressed its share price.

Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L: ) was also a strong gainer, up
1.7 percent after the part-nationalised bank returned to profit
as losses on bad debts fell.

But other banks were weaker, crimped by the retreat in
investor risk appetite as the Greek debt worries continued.
Barclays (BARC.L: ), HSBC (HSBA.L: ), Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L: )
and Standard Chartered fell 0.5-1.2 percent.

Shopping mall owner Liberty International (LII.L: ) was also
among the top blue chips losers, down 2.5 percent after Societe
Generale downgraded the stock to “sell” from “hold”.

Tobacco stocks were the biggest support to the index, with
Imperial Tobacco (IMT.L: ) the FTSE 100 top riser, up 2.3 percent
after the world’s fourth-biggest cigarette maker beat forecasts
with a 16 percent rise in half-year earnings.

Peer British American Tobacco (BATS.L: ) added 0.4 percent.

Other stocks perceived as resilient to weaker economic
conditions also outperformed, with United Utilities (UU.L: )
gaining 0.7 percent, and food producer Unilever (ULVR.L: ) up 0.6
percent ahead of earnings news later this week.

Investors will watch the CBI distributive trades data for
April, to be released at 0900 GMT, for more clues on the state
of the UK economy ahead of an election due to be held on May 6.

Stock Market Basics

(Editing by Mike Nesbit)

FTSE weak; Greek debt problems haunt equities