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    Miners dragged FTSE 100 down

    On Thursday, British stocks dived and made their way to the lowest close for 3.5 years, as investors had to dump anything associated with risky assets amid an updated global sell-off.    

    The FTSE 100 index dipped to 5,551.13 or 2.1%, thus setting itself on track for the worst close since July 2012, according to FactSet data.  

    The sag came after a late US sell-off and after shares in Hong Kong decreased on the return of trading right after the Lunar New Year break.    

    Another negative day for crude oil weighed on market sentiment, as the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil decreased below $27.    

    In London Rio Tinto PLC became the leader of the long list of decliners, diving 6.5%. Apart from that, the miner changed its progressive dividend policy, thus citing a slowing global economy and an abrupt dip in commodity prices.   

    As for other miners, stocks of Glencore PLC brought 4.7% after a fourth-quarter zinc and copper lower output was reported. BHP Billiton PLC lost 4.9%, while Anglo-American PLC sagged 3.9%.           

    On a more positive note in the commodity sector, precious metals miners gained as another market panic sent market participants seeking safe havens, and one of them is gold. Stocks of Fresnillo PLC surged 5.2%, while Randgold Resources Ltd gained 4.6%.    

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