* FTSE 100 falls 0.6 percent
* Miners and energy stocks hit by China GDP data
* Fresnillo, Randgold shed over 10 percent as gold slides
* Defensives gain, led by Glaxo, United Utilities
By Alistair Smout
LONDON, April 15 Commodity-related stocks led
Britain's top share index lower on Monday following
disappointing data from China, the world's largest consumer of
metals, and a continued sell-off of gold and silver.
The materials and energy sectors combined to take 30 points
off of the blue-chip FTSE 100 index after data showed
China's economic recovery unexpectedly slowed in the first
The Chinese news caught some investors by surprise after a
surge in banking liquidity and a rise in export growth fuelled
hopes of much stronger numbers, and adds to a string of
disappointing economic reports globally.
"It's mining and energy stocks dragging the FTSE down today,
and the momentum is very bearish," Myrto Sokou, analyst at
Sucden Private Financial Clients, said.
"The poor Chinese data this morning comes on top of
disappointing jobs data from the United States on Friday, and
concerns about a slow down in demand putting commodity stocks
Miners Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, which
derive around a third of their revenue from China, fell 3.8
percent and each took more than 5 points off the index, with
Citi also downgrading its view on the sector.
FTSE 350 miners fell 5 percent - the sector's
biggest one day slide since November 2011.
The most dramatic fallers on the FTSE 100 were precious
metal miners, with Fresnillo shedding 15.2 percent and
peers Polymetal and Randgold Resources down
13.2 percent and 8.3 percent respectively.
Gold slumped to its worst two-day performance since 1983,
while silver, which is Fresnillo's focus, shed 10.4 percent
"Gold broke $1,500 on Friday and $1,400 today, which is
weighing on the precious metal stocks such as Fresnillo and
Randgold," said Sokou.
Fresnillo and Randgold traded 5 and 4 times their 90 day
average volume, compared to a quiet day on the broader index
which saw volume at just 80 percent of the average.
Gold miners traded at 8.7 times their expected earnings for
the next 12 months, a multi-year low, Thomson Reuters StarMine
The falls in materials and energy accounted for the entirety
of the fall on the FTSE 100, which closed down 40.79
points, or 0.6 percent, at 6,343.60 points
The index found support at the 6,300 level, bouncing off
lows as traders cycled into defensive stocks resilient to
Heavyweight pharmaceutical GlaxoSmithKline jumped to
the top of the FTSE leaderboard in afternoon trade, rising 3.9
percent after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a suit
against it over its Avandia diabetes drug.
Healthcare stocks added 12 points to the index in all,
joining utilities as the only sectors in positive territory.
United Utilities gained 2.5 percent after a report
that the perennial takeover target had hired Goldman Sachs
"United Utilities is one of those ever ongoing bid
speculation stories that happens when the papers don't have a
lot to write about on a Sunday," Joe Rundle, head of trading at
ETX Capital, said.
"It could get taken out but I don't think it's about to
(Editing by Robin Pomeroy)