By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch
LONDON (MarketWatch)--British stocks inched lower on Thursday, as shares in Royal Dutch Shell PLC dropped following reports of an oil sheen in the Gulf of Mexico. Miners rose along with higher metals prices.
The FTSE 100 index shed 0.3% to 5,615.93.
Dropping to the bottom of the index, Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) lost 4% after the firm said late Wednesday that a light oil sheen had been observed in the central portion of the Gulf of Mexico, where the oil group operates. Shell said it has sent an oil-spill response vessel to the location and has requested flights to monitor the area. The source of the sheen is unknown.
BP PLC (BP) tracked Shell lower and shed 1.7%.
Further weighing in London, United Utilities Group PLC declined 1.1% as Citigroup downgraded the stock to neutral from buy.
Miners traded higher and followed most metals north. Rio Tinto PLC (RIO) added 2.8%, Fresnillo PLC gained 2.9% and Kazakhmys PLC advanced 2.1%.
Also supporting the U.K. index, GKN PLC added 3.8% after Credit Suisse lifted the stock to outperform from neutral.