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.
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.