By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch
LONDON (MarketWatch) -- Sluggish Chinese manufacturing data and disappointment with the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy initiatives pushed U.K. stock markets into red territory Thursday, with resource firms and banks leading the charge south.
The FTSE 100 index slipped 0.6% to 5,590.13, putting it on track to snap a four-day winning streak.
Resource firms added the most weight in the U.K. index following a further deterioration of manufacturing activity in China in June. A preliminary reading of the HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index dropped to a seven-month low and showed further contraction in business conditions at factories.
Vedanta Resources PLC lost 2.7%, Anglo American PLC fell 2.5%, BHP Billiton PLC (BHP)declined 1.7% and Rio Tinto PLC shed 1.6%.
Energy stocks were also under pressure, marked by oil prices dropping below $81 a barrel. BP PLC (BP) gave up 2.6%, Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA) (RDSB) slid 0.9% and BG Group PLC nudged 1.5% lower.
U.K. stocks shook off better-than-expected retail sales data for May, which showed a 1.4% rise compared to April, according to the Office for National Statistics. On an annual basis, sales rose 2.4%.
Banks were also on the decline after the U.S. Federal Reserve Wednesday failed to meet market hopes of another round of quantitative easing amid weak economic growth. Shares of HSBC Holdings PLC (HBC) slipped 0.5% and Standard Chartered PLC lost 0.8%.