Precious metal miners were the only stocks to be treasured by punters yesterday as investors largely abandoned equities for safer havens.
Gold and silver miners across the blue chip and mid-tier tables were boosted by a rise in metal prices – gold futures jumped to their highest in more than 14 months – as investors ran for cover in a volatile global market.
Fears about Russia’s intervention in Ukraine caused investors to ditch stocks for less-risky assets. The top stocks – only six companies were not in the red on the Footsie yesterday – were gold miner Randgold Resources, up 206p to 4,953p and Mexican silver specialist Fresnillo, ahead 18.5p to 970p.
On the mid-tier table African Barrick Gold was 14.1p brighter at 295.3p and Egyptian gold miner Centamin sparkled 1.1p better at 56.1p.
Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 tumbled 101.35 points to 6,708.35.
Trade exhibitions group ITE, which has a large events business in Russia, was downgraded to hold by Canaccord Genuity and it slumped 37p to 244.8p.
One of the few Footsie risers was safety-testing specialist Intertek, which reported profit up 2 per cent at £315m. It picked up 29p to 2,970p.
Senior, the aerospace-parts manufacturer, reported an 8 per cent rise in full-year profit after a surge in demand. Its shares rose 2.1p to 285.5p.
Construction group Keller said better demand in the US helped it attain a 70 per cent leap in full-year profit. But its outlook for this year worried investors. It warned about a slowdown in projects, particularly in the resource sector, in Europe and Australia and its share price lost 114p to 1,156p.
Cable-product maker HellermannTyton announced sales up 11.1 per cent to €538m (£443m) for the year to January and advanced 8.1p to 322.7p.
Aim-listed dry cleaner and uniform supplier Johnson Service Group cleaned up with a 4p rise to 56p after it bought a hotel linen specialist. Its full-year numbers revealed a pre-tax profit 25.2 per cent ahead at £13.4m and it said it had paid £22m for the Lincolnshire-based hotel specialist Bourne Services.