FTSE tumbles 2% at open

FTSE tumbles 2% at open


London: London’s FTSE 100 index of leading shares tumbled 2% to 5,987.20 points in volatile trade at the open on Thursday.

That marked the first time since March 5, 2007, that the index has fallen beneath 6,000 points, and followed a loss of 0.56% on Wednesday.

The fall of UK stocks was led by BP Plc and Rio Tinto Group after oil and metal prices dropped.

Northern Rock Plc retreated for a third session after analysts lowered their share-price estimates on Britain’s worst- performing bank stock this year.

BP, Europe’s second-largest oil company, slid 2.5% to 528.5. Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the region’s biggest, decreased 1.9% to 1816.

Crude oil futures fell from a one-month high in New York as investors sold to cover losses in equity markets and forecasters altered the track of a storm away from Gulf of Mexico platforms.

Rio Tinto, the world’s third-largest mining company, slipped 4.7% to 3,000 pence. BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest, declined 3.7% to 1,229 pence.

Copper and zinc fell in Shanghai as the region’s shares tumbled the most in a year, extending a global rout and fueling concern that demand for industrial metals may fall as world economic growth slows.

Northern Rock slumped 6.3% to 644.5. Merrill Lynch & Co. cut it share-price estimate to 913 pence from 1,130 pence, while JPMorgan Chase & Co. lowered its estimate to 690 pence from 830 pence.

Northern Rock yesterday dropped to its lowest price in more than three years on concern the mortgage lender will miss profit estimates.