Britain's FTSE edged lower by miners, retailers

Britain's FTSE edged lower by miners, retailersOn Monday Britain's FTSE 100 edged lower, with weakness in miners and retailers at the beginning of 2014 counteracting a rally in RSA Insurance on expectations it will avoid further write downs.

In early trade on Monday, shares in Marks & Spencer slumped around 2%, as investors look ahead to Thursday's release of the key Christmas trading update from the bellwether of the U. K. retail sector.

The company has been the stronghold of middle-aged, middle-class Britons for more than a century, but has faced a difficult time in the past decade in the face of "fast fashion" rivals, online shopping and the recent economic slump.

Citigroup, the U. S. banking giant also takes a gloomy view on Monday, cutting its FY 2014 pretax profit forecast by £10 million to £630 million ($1.03 billion), citing recent trading statements and higher clothing market discount activity in the pre-Christmas trading period.

Miners were hit by fresh signs of economic weakness in top metals consumer China.

Randgold Resources fell 1.8 percent, while heavyweight Rio Tinto dropped 1.1 percent.

Shares in RSA Insurance increase over 6% early on Monday after the group announced on Friday that it intends to release the key findings of PwC's review into the group's Irish operations on Thursday.