- The FTSE 100 slipped into the red as weaker than expected economic data from China and underwhelming trading from Antofagasta hit the mining sector.

The blue-chip index declined 0.4% to 7,611.

Copper cheapened 1.5% to $2.68 per pound, while the price of Brent crude oil was broadly unmoved at $72.61 per barrel.

Antofagasta was down 7% to 886.4p after a disappointing set of half year results with its earnings and dividend payout missing expectations as trade war tensions created short-term uncertainty.

Anglo American fell 2.1% to £16.44 and Randgold Resources retreated 1.3% to £53.02.

UK unemployment fell by 65,000 between April and June to 1.36m. According to the Office for National Statistics, unemployment has not been lower since December 1974 to February 1975.


Plastic piping manufacturer Polypipe reported a resilient performance amid mixed marketing conditions and adverse weather, helping the shares advance 6.1% to 376.5p.

Chemicals specialist Elementis enjoyed a 2.5% share price jump to 262.2p following a raft of positive analyst commentary from the likes of JP Morgan, Numis and Berenberg.

Insurer Esure agreed to be bought out by Bain Capital Equity in a £1.21bn deal, helping the shares accelerate 3.9% to 277.6p. Investors overlooked a decline in pre-tax profit from £45.1m a year ago to £36.1m following adverse weather earlier this year.

UK delivery company Royal Mail retreated 1.6% to 454.9p despite being hit with a record £50m fine from Ofcom. Royal Mail reported it is appealing the fine.


Biotechnology firm SalvaRx entered a conditional sale agreement to sell its interest in subsidiary SalvaRx to Portage Biotech for $67.5m, triggering an 45.7% surge in the stock to 64.9p.

Shares in Realm Therapeutics went in the other direction on the news its atopic dermatitis treatment failed in its Phase II clinical trial, leading to a 50.2% crash to 19.9p.

Avanti Communications gained 8% to 5.8p on confirmation it received $20m following a settlement with the government of Indonesia.

Distributor John Menzies was flat at 645p on a mixed half year update as pre-tax profit rose 15.4% thanks to higher cargo volumes and new contracts, but the value of its newspaper business had to be written down.

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