* FTSE 100 index falls 0.7 percent
* Miners, oils down on growth concerns
* Tesco slips on plan of huge write-off
* Tullow, Wessex drop on exploration update
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, April 17 Britain's top share index
extended losses for a fourth straight session on Wednesday, with
economic worries weakening commodity stocks while Tesco dropped
after confirming it would take a large write-off.
Charts pointed to further declines for the blue chip FTSE
100 index, which fell 43.10 points, or 0.7 percent, to
6,260.18 by 1133 GMT, its lowest in nearly two weeks.
"The risk is skewed to the downside. With commodity prices
pushing lower, we are looking for a downturn through April and
May," Lynnden Branigan, analyst at Barclays Capital, said.
"There is a fair chance for the index to head towards the
6,000 area, around which you might see a stopping point for most
of the people."
Major energy and mining stocks took almost 30 points off,
while other decliners were offset by gains in some defensive
stocks such as tobacco, beverages and
personal goods, up 0.5 to 3.4 percent.
The FTSE mining index fell 2.2 percent and the
FTSE oil and gas index dropped 1.4 percent, with
investors dumping the sectors in the past days after recent poor
economic data from China and the United States sparked concerns
about demand for commodities.
"People are using commodities as a big stick to beat the
market, which just wants to come back to the lower levels of its
trading range," Bob Butler, head of trading at Westhouse
Mining and energy shares mirrored softer commodity prices,
with copper falling 1.8 percent, oils dropping
0.9 percent and zinc down 0.8 percent.
Tesco, down 3.3 percent, also put pressure on the
market, with Britain's top retailer taking the most points off
the FTSE 100 index after writing down the value of its global
operations by $3.5 billion and announcing plans to exit the
An exploration update hurt Tullow Oil, down 9.8
percent, Northern Petroleum, down 13 percent, and Wessex
Exploration, down 24 percent.
Traders cited an update from the joint venture saying they
extended the exploration of the offshore French Guiana well,
potentially causing a delay in the programme.
Tullow's trading volumes were 143 percent of its 90-day
daily average, the tenth most traded stock in Europe.
On the positive side, luxury brand Burberry rose
3.4 percent after posting better-than-expected revenue, thanks
to strong demand for its more expensive products in China.
"Burberry has again pleased, making earlier challenges look
temporary in nature. As such, the share price has responded
well, with the current consensus opinion of a strong hold
potentially coming under upward pressure," Keith Bowman, equity
analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said.
"Nonetheless, with the company's Asian bias increasing and
the debate over Chinese economic growth still ongoing, room for
caution appears to persist."
(Editing by Ruth Pitchford)