FTSE 100 dragged down by mining stocks

City traders Image copyright Getty Images

(Close): London's leading shares sagged in Wednesday trading, dragged down by mining stocks.

Four of the five biggest losers on the FTSE 100 were mining firms, led by BHP Billiton, which sank by almost 5%.

Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran sent oil to a new 11-year low, adding to gloom elsewhere over the health of the Chinese economy. But defence giant BAe Systems lead the risers, up 3.4%.

The 100-share index lost 66.86 to 6,073.38.

Oil fell 5% leaving Brent at a new 11-year low of $34.67.

Shares across the globe started the week badly. On Monday trading in China was halted early after its main indexes fell 7%, triggering "circuit breakers".

Chinese shares extended their losses on Tuesday, but headed higher on Wednesday, with the Shanghai Composite index closing 2.3% up.

Sainsbury's gains

Anglo American and Rio Tinto were down almost 5%, while Antofagasta shed 4.3% and Glencore lost 3.5%.

Among the risers on the FTSE 100, Sainsbury's made early gains but was just 0.04% up at lunchtime, having fallen 5.2% the previous day.

The supermarket giant's loss on Tuesday followed news that it had made an unsuccessful bid approach for Home Retail Group.

Home Retail lost around 5% after news of the approach sent shares soaring 41% on Tuesday.

On the currency markets, the pound slipped by 0.37% against the dollar to $1.4620 and by 0.42% against the euro to €1.3593.