* FTSE 100 down 0.6 percent
* Anglo knocked by Amplats strikes, Kumba warning
* Vodafone hurt by Deutsche Bank downgrade
* Imperial Tobacco top faller, trades ex-dividend
By Tricia Wright
LONDON, Jan 16 Miners dragged down Britain's top
shares on Wednesday as Anglo American fell on worker
unrest at its platinum mines, while market heavyweight Vodafone
dropped on a rating downgrade from Deutsche Bank.
The FTSE 100 was down 35.78 points, or 0.6 percent,
at 6,081.53 by 1221 GMT, having gained around 3 percent since
the start of 2013.
Anglo American fell 2.1 percent, underperforming a 1.6
percent decline in the mining sector.
The company laid out a blueprint for its Anglo American
Platinum arm on Monday, but the plan to close two mines
and sell one could mean 14,000 jobs lost and has been met with
resistance from both the government and unions.
Anglo's Kumba Iron Ore unit has separately warned
its 2012 profit likely fell by a third, hit by lower prices and
an illegal strike. Societe Generale cut its rating for the stock
to "sell" from "hold".
Vodafone shed 1.9 percent, alone knocking almost 6
points off the FTSE 100 index. Traders cited the impact of a
downgrade by Deutsche Bank to "hold" from "buy", with analysts
at the bank forecasting a slowdown in growth at the British
mobile phones operator.
"We forecast growth deterioration through calendar 2013 with
the outlook for financial full-year 2014 set to confirm
declining free cash flow (FCF), no further dividend per share
(DPS) growth and a scaled down buyback to avoid increased
leverage," Deutsche Bank said in a European telecoms review.
Imperial Tobacco topped the FTSE 100 fallers' list
on Wednesday, off 4.8 percent, as the stock traded ex-dividend.
Traders cited mounting worries about a looming political
fight in Washington to lift the federal government's debt limit,
uncertainty over U.S. corporate earnings and caution over the
health of the global economy, thrown back into focus by weak
German GDP figures on Tuesday.
"I still think a recovery in Europe and globally is the
major concern, and I think investors are just being cautious,"
Michael Hewson, senior analyst at CMC Markets, said.
"We've seen a pretty good rally in the front part of January
and I think it's just very sensible that investors start to take
a little bit of money off the table ahead of important earnings
as we head into the back part of the week."
Lynnden Branigan, technical analyst at Barclays Capital, was
undeterred by Wednesday's pullback, remaining "cautiously
bullish" on the UK benchmark, targeting 6,377, the May 2008
high, over the coming months.
"Only if we were to start to move back below 6,000
(resistance in March 2012) would we be a bit concerned that
there was going to be a deeper correction," he said.
"The immediate risk is probably looking at the lows that we
saw last week of 6,053 (the close on Jan. 8)."
The UK banking sector fell 1 percent as
investors digested fourth-quarter earnings on Wednesday from
U.S. banking heavyweights JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs
, both of which beat expectations.
European banks have rallied nearly 50 percent since June as
confidence in the sector has grown after central banks stepped
up support to prevent the financial system from collapsing.
The recent relaxation of requirements from Basel 3 has also
underpinned belief that lenders will soon be able return to
paying healthy dividends.
More U.S. banks will report on Thursday as the U.S. earnings
season rumbles on, with Citigroup and Bank of America
Corp. scheduled to post numbers.
(Additional reporting by Jon Hopkins and David Brett; Editing
by Hugh Lawson)