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Market Report: Mining giants plunge to new depths

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It would take a bold investor to bet on a recovery for mining stocks in the current climate. The downward spiral for commodity prices, especially industrial metals such as copper, which crashed to six-year lows, plunged the mining giants to new depths.

Glencore rejoined the penny stock club as the trader-cum-mining giant’s shares slumped 7.93p to 95.92p. It fell as much as 13 per cent at one point as the rush for the exit gained momentum.

Fears mounted about its debt mountain as Hong Kong-based rival commodities trader Noble Group revealed its profits had been savaged by the metal price rout.

Anglo American, which announced the departure of the boss of its Brazilian iron ore business, tanked 42.85p or 8.7 per cent to all-time lows of 449.9p, on concerns it could follow Glencore’s lead and slash the dividend.

Oil firms were not immune to the carnage as Brent crude was hauled lower again by a stronger US dollar, down 93 cents to $44.88 a barrel, which hurt BP, down 10.65p at 367.25p, and Shell, 71p worse off at 1,596.5p.

With only a handful of risers, it was no surprise the FTSE 100 extended its losses, slumping 118.52 points to 6,178.68. A hefty share sale from its biggest backer caused a stampede for the exit at challenger bank Shawbrook, which fell 26p to 335p.

The Special Opportunities Fund run by Pollen Street Capital, the private equity firm spun out of Royal Bank of Scotland in 2013, dumped 25 million shares at 335p a pop for £83.75m, leaving it with a 44.6 per cent stake.

The bidding war for Xchanging was reignited after the back-office processor revealed it received a £421m takeover bid from US firm Computer Sciences Corporation, having already accepted a £412m offer from Footsie support services group Capita, 35p cheaper at 1,219p.

Xchanging rose 11.75p to 171p, 1p higher than the latest bid, with investors predicting a higher offer is imminent.

Elsewhere, a VW-inspired profit warning from Ubisense, which helps car assembly lines run more efficiently, triggered a 22.5p or 27 per cent drop to 60.5p.

Independent

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