Traders’ hopes for a fresh start for stock markets in September were dashed when they returned to work from the long weekend to find screens awash with red on the back of yet more downbeat data from China.
This time the source of the market pain was figures showing that factories in the world’s biggest commodity consumer were in the midst of their worst slump for several years.
The news ravaged the shares of London-listed miners, with Glencore plunging 14.8p to close at 133.5p.
It was joined by Anglo American, down 56.6p at 684.4p; BHP Billiton, 76p lower at 1,056p; and Antofagasta, 34.5p cheaper at 574.5p, towards the bottom of the FTSE 100 leaderboard.
The index itself fell to 6,058.54, a decline of 189.4 points – its worst one-day performance in a week.
The engineering group Meggitt was the sole FTSE 100 stock in the black, notching up an 11.3p rise to close at 488.7p.
The feat came after a surprise rise in US auto sales and a pledge from the Chancellor, George Osborne, to spend £500m refurbishing the Faslane nuclear submarine base on the River Clyde in the next decade.
On the FTSE 250, Man Group was hit by a double whammy from the People’s Republic. The hedge fund manager, which slumped 10.9p to 150.2p, joined the casualties from the China rout and had to deal with reports that the chairwoman of its Chinese unit, Li Yifei, had been taken into custody as part of an investigation into the recent market turmoil.
On the same index Frankie & Benny’s parent company, The Restaurant Group, managed an 8p rise to 674.5p after Deutsche Bank upgraded it to “buy” from “hold”, judging it to be resistant to both oversupply and the potential effects of the new living wage.
Rentokil Initial was up 3.4p at 151.7p after unveiling a $425m (£277.2m) deal for the US pest control company Steritech.
On AIM, the home improvement company Entu issued a profit warning brought on by its underperforming solar division, which it has decided to shut. Its shares fell 27p to 65.5p.