Weak miners hold back FTSE 100

London stock brokers (file photo) Image copyright AFP

Falling prices for copper, zinc and nickel put pressure on mining shares in London on Thursday.

The price of copper hit a one-month low after a report showed that Chinese metal imports slowed sharply in November.

BHP Billiton closed down 1.6%, Rio Tinto fell 1% and Anglo American slipped 0.7%.

However, the FTSE 100 managed a modest gain towards the end of the session, rising 0.3% to 7,064.

"Some of the mining stocks, the amount they've jumped from the lows this year, they've probably out-done the bounce in the metals prices," said Jasper Lawler, senior market analyst at London Capital Group.

He said that next year shares in mining firms will be "exposed", if metal demand does not recover and supply does not fall as much as thought.

The best performer on the FTSE 100 was the business consultant group DCC, which rose more than 3%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was edging lower on Thursday, but still remains within striking distance of 20,000.

The pound dipped 0.47% against the dollar to $1.2296. It was 0.77% lower against the euro at €1.176.