3 Min Read
* FTSE 100 index closes 0.2 percent lower
* Mining shares fall on growth concerns
* Iraq tensions prompt investors to stay cautious
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, June 24 (Reuters) - Britain's top share index slipped slightly on Tuesday, led lower by mining stocks, as signs of economic weakness in the region and growing tension in Iraq made investors cautious.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index ended down 0.2 percent at 6,787.07 points. It has been trading in a tight 60-point range for almost a week against a range of about 150 points earlier this month.
The UK mining index, down 0.8 percent, was the biggest sectoral faller on concerns about economic growth in the region as Germany's Ifo index of business sentiment fell in June to its lowest this year.
The tense situation in Iraq also made investors cautious as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held crisis talks with leaders of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region.
"Geopolitical concerns and Britain's monetary policy outlook are making people nervous, but I think the market wants to go higher and we are witnessing a short-term pullback," IG analyst Chris Beauchamp said.
Comments by Bank of England officials also prompted investors to trade cautiously at a time when the market lacked strong catalysts to break the current trading range.
BoE Governor Mark Carney, speaking to lawmakers, pushed back slightly against expectations that the bank will raise interest rates before the end of the year, saying Britain's economy still has plenty of slack to work through.
But BoE Deputy Governor Charlie Bean said Britain was gradually moving towards the point of tighter monetary policy, although the timing would depend on how the economy progresses from here.
"The central bank is trying to manage expectations and remind investors and consumers that interest rates can't stay at these low levels for longer," Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said.
"The market is lacking catalysts to make a decisive move up or down. However, the second-quarter results season could provide some direction to the market, with investors' focus seen shifting to company revenues and forward guidance." (Additional reporting by Alistair Smout in Edinburgh; Editing by Susan Fenton)