FTSE 100 drifts lower as gold stocks rise

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Image source, AFP

The FTSE 100 drifted lower on Thursday as investors weighed up fresh economic and corporate numbers.

After a brief recovery, the index finished 0.6% down at 7,388 with gold miners - an investors' favourite in uncertain times - the big risers.

Cautious minutes from the US Federal Reserve, plus mixed signals from UK retail figures unnerved investors.

On the currency markets, sterling was flat against the dollar at $1.2885, but up 0.2% on the euro at 1.0975 euros.

Stronger UK retail sales in July - driven by food - were overshadowed by weak growth figures from Kingfisher, which owns DIY chain B&Q.

Kingfisher shares were the FTSE 100's worst performer, down more than 4%.

Gold firms Fresnillo and Randgold were up 4% and 2% respectively as the price of the precious metal edged higher.

The FTSE 100's open was clouded by the Fed's concerns about inflation.

Outside the top flight, Hikma Pharmaceuticals fell 10% after a disappointing trading update.

Mecca Bingo operator Rank fell 6%. The firm reported that pre-tax profits in the 12 months to 30 June fell 7% to £79.7m, while revenue slipped slightly from £709m to £707m.