Markets steady despite China troubles

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Markets steadied across Europe after yesterday’s dramatic sell-off despite another dire economic report from China.

The FTSE 100 Index in London rose 30.3 points to 5966.4, but remained below the 6000 mark. It had plunged nearly 3 per cent on Tuesday amid a toxic cocktail of fears over China and the wider global economy, slumping commodity prices and Volkswagen’s emissions scandal.

Other markets also made cautious gains, with the Dax in Germany ahead by 0.7 per cent and France’s Cac 40 edging 0.2 per cent higher.

The rises came in spite of a closely-watched activity index for China’s manufacturing sector slumping to its lowest level in six-and-a-half years.

This prompted further falls in Asia, with the Shanghai Composite Index in China down 1.1 per cent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index off more than 2 per cent.

In London, miners made a bounce back after leading yesterday’s declines, with Glencore clawing back with a 2 per cent gain, up 2.2p to 108.5p.

Engineer Smiths Group led the blue-chip risers, up 4 per cent or 36p to 1065p after it said better margins helped its profit to edge higher in the year to the end of July, despite revenue falling.

But platinum metals company Johnson Matthey, which is the world’s largest supplier of vehicle catalytic converters, remained in the red, hit by the escalating Volkswagen scandal.

Its shares fell 3 per cent or 59.5p to 2258.5p.