By Dow Jones Business News, March 01, 2013, 04:54:00 AM EDT
By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch
LONDON (MarketWatch) -- U.K.'s benchmark stock index struggled for direction on Friday, with most stocks trading in
positive territory, while miners declined after disappointing Chinese data.
The FTSE 100 index was marginally higher at 6,361.26, adding to a 0.6% gain from Thursday.
Shares of Lloyds Banking Group PLC ( LYG ) dropped 3.4% after the bank posted a loss for 2012. The result was hit by
extra provisions in the fourth quarter to cover potential claims from people who were wrongly sold insurance products,
known as PPI. See: Lloyds hit by further PPI charges
Other banks were also lower: Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (RBS) by 2.2%, Barclays PLC( BCS ) by 0.7% and sector
heavyweight HSBC Holdings PLC ( HBC ) by0.3%.
Mining firms were also on the decline in London, after fresh data showed the Chinese manufacturing sector expanded at
a slower pace in February.
The government-sponsored version of the manufacturing Purchasing managers' index came in at 50.1, only marginally
ahead of the 50-point threshold that signals an expansion. The figure marked a decline from January's 50.4-point level
and missed expectations for 50.5 in a Dow Jones Newswires survey. See: China manufacturing grows marginally, surveys
Shares of Kazakhmys PLC fell 6%, Rio Tinto PLC (RIO) dropped 2% and Anglo American PLC (AAUKY) shaved off 1.5%
. Metals prices were lower across the board.
Among stocks on the rise in London, shares of Old Mutual PLC gained 1.9%. The financial group posted an increase in
2012 profit and set aside 5 billion rand ($561.8 million) to invest in Africa over the next three to five years. See:
Old Mutual posts rise in profit, focus on Africa
Shares of Diageo PLC picked up 0.6%, as India's antitrust body approved the liquor maker's up to $2 billion offer to
buy as much as 53.4% of United Spirits Ltd. . See: India approves Diageo-United Spirits deal
Hammerson PLC picked up 2.6%. The real-estate company said it would raise full-year dividends to 10 pence from 9.3
pence in 2011.
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