Anxious investors were given further cause for concern on Tuesday as developments on the Korean peninsula added to worries over Ireland’s debt crisis.
The FTSE 100 Index fell to its lowest level in more than a month, dropping 1% or 57.7 points to 5623.2, after tracking heavy losses in Asian markets as investors worried about other financially weak European countries.
The session deteriorated when it emerged North Korea had fired dozens of artillery rounds into rival South Korea’s territory.
Mining stocks were among those on the back foot, while banks again suffered losses on concerns about their exposure in Europe’s debt crisis.
Royal Bank of Scotland fell 0.6p to 39.3p and Lloyds Banking Group dropped 1.6p to 62.3p, while Barclays was off 7.6p to 262.4p.
On the results front, pubs group Mitchells & Butlers fell 4% despite a 26% rise in full-year profits and a surge in food sales at the start of its new financial year. Investors were disappointed at the company’s failure to reinstate its dividend, leading to a fall in shares of 16.3p to 337.5p.
Bank note printer De La Rue was also lower, down 34p to 589p, after reporting a sharp fall in underlying half-year profits due to irregularities in paper production at a factory this year. It said the financial impact of the problems remained unclear.