StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks opened lower on Wednesday, led down by miners, as the US threatened to impose more tariffs on Chinese imports.

At 0859, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 39.70 points, or 0.5%, at 7.709.06.

Mining giant Rio Tinto slumped 3.1% despite posting a 33% rise in first-half profit that met market expectations. Glencore fell 2.5% and BHP Billiton fell 2.1%.

Lloyds Banking Group gained 2.3% after it beat profit expectations and raised its guidance, despite setting aside more compensation money for its mis-selling of private protection insurance.

Clothing retailer Next shed 5.6% as investors were left disappointed with a rise quarterly sales amid a hotter-than-average summer.

Packaging group Smurfit Kappa gained 2.8% after higher sales volumes and price increases sent its first-half profit soaring 70%.

UK funeral group Dignity rallied 7.9% as first-half profits beat expectations thanks to a higher death rate.

Wealth manager St. James's Place hiked its first-half dividend by 20% after higher inflows drove a 4% increase in profits. Its shares nevertheless fell 1.9%.

Insurance company Direct Line dropped 2.6% after larger weather related claims sent profits lower and chief executive Paul Geddes said he would stand down next year.

Hedge fund manager Man Group gained 4.1% after a boost in net inflows helped it posted an 18% jump in first-half profits.

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