StockMarketWire.com - London stocks entrenched their midday falls through the afternoon as investors took some pause to mull profit-taking on miners and their jitters over global economic growth worries. This as Wall St and Europe were heavily lower. Falling miners, however, were the key driver.

FTSE 100 closed down 95.13 points, or 1.6%, to 5867.18. FTSE 250 was down 111.7, or 0.69%, to 16,117.5. At 4.35pm, WTI crude was at USD31.08/bbl. Brent was at USD33.02/bbl. In safe-haven assets, gold soared to USD1247/oz and UK 10-year gilt yields tightened 9bps to 1.35%.

The UK-EU referendum in June continued to cast a pall. Miners hurt on all these factors, plus worries about metals-hungry China's economic outlook. The FTSE 350 mining index plunged 6.36%. Overall, about 87 blue chips softened, roughly 70 by 1% or more.

Perennially volatile Glencore (GLEN) fell 10.1% to 116.38p, while Anglo American (AAL) dropped 9.58% to 409.68p. BHP Billiton (BLT) flopped 8.37% to 684.4p and Rio Tinto (RIO) ebbed 5.72% to 1874.25p. Randgold (RRS), however, enjoyed gold's rise and firmed 2.24% to 2074.5p

High-street retail followed Sports Direct (SPD), off 4.89% to 382.05p. Financials traced Standard Chartered (STAN), down 4.4% to 389p. Insurers followed Old Mutual (OML), down 4.22% to 165.5p, lower. Several commercial property outfits queued behind Hammerson (HMSO), lower 2.95% to 534.75p.

Other fallers included a mixed bag of utilities, leisure, supermarkets and oilies. To the upside, Barratt Developments (BDEV), up 1.65% to 571.25p and leading several rising house builders, reported a strong H1 with total completions -- including JVs -- up 9.4% at 7626 and pretax profit rose 40.3% to £295.0m. The group also reported a strong start to H2.

OTHER NEWS OF NOTE

Capital & Counties Properties (CAPC), down 8.24% to 314.75p, said its EPRA adjusted net asset value rose to GBP3.059bn in the year to end-December, from GBP2.630bn in 2014. EPRA adjusted, diluted net asset value per share rose 16% to 361p.

Man Group (EMG), down 7.46% to 149.45p, said FuM rose 8% to USD78.7bn in the year to end-December. Gross sales totalled USD22.9bn, from USD21.9bn. Redemptions totalled USD22.6bn, from USD18.6bn, and there was net inflows of USD0.3bn, from USD3.3bn.

Serco (SRP), up 2.04% to 81.68p, has extended its contract with the Western Australian Government to operate Acacia Prison for a further five years, to May 2021. The total value of the contract extension is expected to be GBP166m.

BIGGER MOVERS

Independent Resources (IRG), up 80.95% to 0.19p, is issuing 6m new shares at 0.6p each in payment for services rendered in relation to the company's operations.

Edenville Energy (EDL), up 59.09% to 0.04p, said the mining licence for its Rukwa coal deposit has been granted, and is expected to be formally released in the week beginning Feb. 28.

Minoan (MIN), up 37.25% to 8.75p, noted reports in Greek travel media suggesting the four signatories required for the presidential decree in respect of the company's long-planned Crete project have now been delivered.

LGO Energy (LGO), up 27.91% to 0.28p, has agreed a signed a non-binding term sheet for a USD20m investment and is in talks with other potential investors while also continuing its formal sales process.

ECONOMIC NEWS

Stateside, the Markit 'flash' US Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 51.0 in February, from 52.4 in January. US Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development said estimated sales of new US one-family houses in January fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 494,000.

This side of the Atlantic, British Banking Association said there were 47,509 UK mortgage approvals in January, against expectations for 45,200 and from 44,000 previously.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Stellar Resources (STG) fell 25.33% to 0.28p as it raised GBP770,000 gross via the issue of 308m new shares at 0.25p each. Sula Iron & Gold (SULA) shed 21.28% to 0.18p on raising GBP290,000 gross through a placing of 181.25m new share at 0.16p each.

Ascent Resources (AST), up 24.24% to 1.03p, reports further progress towards its goal of producing gas from the Petisovci field in 2016. Town Centre Securities (TCSC), up 9.06% to 302.5p, has posted an H1 pretax profit of GBP11.7m, down from GBP13.3m a year earlier. Interim dividend was held at 3.1p a share.

Tristel (TSTL), down 23.71% to 111p, has hiked its H1 pretax profit, before share-based payments, to GBP1.5m, from GBP1.1m. Interim divided was 1.14p a share, from 0.585p. Revenue gained 8% to GBP8m, from GBP7.4m.

eServGlobal (ESG), up 21.74% to 3.5p, said HomeSend has expanded its global framework agreement with Vodafone for M-Pesa, including the launch of remittance services into five new markets during 2016.

Scotgold Resources (SGZ), up 13.64% to 0.63p, said trial gold production is proposed to start in May at the Cononish Gold and Silver project. Hays (HAS), down 8.9% to 113.15p, reported H1 operating profits of GBP86.3m, up 15% on last time.

International Personal Finance (IPF), down 12.1% to 233.1p, said FY pretax profit was unchanged at GBP100.2m against a number of significant regulatory matters affecting the business.

McBride (MCB) added 9.95% to 169.88p as better-than-expected interims drove upgrades to FY estimates. Its H1 pretax profit rose to GBP13m, from GBP8.7m. Interim dividend was 1.2p a share, from 1.7p.

Other stocks in the news included Grafenia (GRA), Petrofac (PFC), Gooch & Housego (GHH), Synectics (SNX), Scisys (SSY), Empiric Student Property (ESP), Leeds Building Society (LBS), Hays (HAS), Sareum (SAR), Weir' (WEIR), New World Resources (NWR), Escher (ESCH), STV (STVG), Glanbia (GLB), Progility (PGY), Wilmington (WIL), Microsaic Systems (MSYS), Rathbone Bros (RAT) and Interserve (IRV).

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