UK markets flat after Rio boss exit

The FTSE 100 has stalled in early trading after news emerged that Rio Tinto chief executive Tom Albanese has stepped down after a $14bn (£8.7bn) writedown.

The UK market’s biggest miner saw its share price fall 3.5 per cent this morning before a slight recovery. The firm announced it would have to write off $10bn-$12bn from its aluminium assets after the market for the commodity collapsed following its acquisition of Alcan in 2007.

Rio Tinto is also set to take a $3bn hit against coal assets in Mozambique. Chief executive Tom Albanese has stepped down to be replaced by Sam Walsh, head of the firm’s iron ore division.

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Associated British Foods, owner of Primark and several leading food brands, lead the gains in early trading after strong results, while Old Mutual and RBS have also gained more than 1 per cent.

Investors are awaiting US housing and employment data, set to be published later today, which will indicate the strength of the recovery in the world’s leading economy.