- PMI data disappoints
- Markets dragged down by European politics
- Miners, Prudential, IAG lead fallers on Footsie
Global stock markets were under heavy selling pressure on Monday as some gloomy economic data and political uncertainty in Europe weighed on sentiment. London's FTSE 100 index dropped sharply from the off and finished nearly two per cent lower with miners and financials registering steep falls.
The HSBC preliminary flash purchasing managers' index for China rose from 48.3 to 49.1 in April but still remained under the crucial 50-point level, which shows that the industry is still contracting. Meanwhile, Eurozone preliminary manufacturing PMI reached a 34-month low of 46.0 points compared to the previous month's 47.7, according to Markit. The composite PMI fell to a five-month low of 47.4 in April, from 49.1 last month, well below the 49.3 forecast.
In France, Socialist candidate Francois Hollande edged a narrow victory over Nicolas Sarkozy in the country's first-round presidential elections. This is the first time that a current President has not won the top spot in the first round of a re-election bid. Meanwhile, governmental talks in the Netherlands collapsed after lawmakers failed to agree on budget cuts. Also under close watch today were rising Spanish 10-year bond yields which were back above the 6% level again today.
Over the weekend, the G20 pledged to supply the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with $430bn "to help build confidence and prevent crises from spreading." This so-called "reinforced anti-crisis firewall" is meant to place the global recovery on firmer footing as the IMF can now set it sights on rekindling growth, restoring confidence and creating jobs.
FTSE 100: Miners drop after Chinese data
With the Chinese manufacturing sector still contracting, the miners were under heavy selling pressure this morning as metals prices weakened. Vedanta, Rio Tinto, Kazakhmys, Fresnillo and ENRC were heavy fallers. Luxury brand Burberry, a stock often sensitive to the Chinese economic outlook, was also firm lower by the close in London.
Insurer Prudential was friendless as rumours surfaced that the company is eyeing the insurance business of Thailand's Thanachart Bank, valued at about £310m.
Investors in UK lender Barclays were taking profits ahead of its first-quarter results announcement due on Thursday. Nomura said this morning that it prefers Barclays to its UK peers Lloyds and RBS but maintained its neutral rating on the stock saying that "additional upside will require a re-rating of BarCap ROEs, which we see as difficult to achieve in an environment of low interest rate and sluggish growth."
Airline group IAG was out of favour as the pilot strike by the airline's Iberia unit enters its 17th day. German rival Lufthansa gave a clear indication today of what it thinks of the state of the air industry, as it announced it would not increase passenger capacity this year and won't update its intercontinental fleet until it has completed its savings programme.
In contrast, International Power was flat after announcing that it is to expand its jointly-owned Tihama power production sites in Saudi Arabia after winning a contract extension through to 2026 from oil company Saudi Aramco.
British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) was a rare riser despite industry regulator Ofcom announcing that Sky News is being investigated for "fairness and privacy issues." Sky News's management has admitted authorising its journalists to hack into e-mail accounts, but maintains that the actions were in the public interest.
South African insurer Old Mutual was showing up as a big faller after its share consolidation, following the completion of the sale of the Skandia Nordic business to Skandia Liv. Today was also the stock's special ex-dividend date.
FTSE 250: CWW up after Vodafone offer, Bumi drops
Mobile phone networks operator Vodafone has launched an agreed bid for telecoms firm Cable and Wireless Worldwide (CWW). The board of CWW has given its support to a 38p a share cash offer from Vodafone. The Vodafone terms value CWW at around £1,044m. CWW shares
jumped to finish over 12% higher by the end of trade.
Coal miner Bumi was a heavy faller on reports that its major shareholder, Bakrie & Brothers, is at risk of a covenant breach on its loans. The Indonesian conglomerate's lenders are using Bumi's shares as collateral but the stock has fallen steeply in the year-to-date and below a certain threshold, say people familiar with the matter. According to the Wall Street Journal, investors are becoming worried that the firm would have to sell some assets to pay its debts.
FTSE 100 - Risers
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 679.00p +0.67%
Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,052.00p +0.38%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Old Mutual (OML) 145.30p -14.39%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,167.00p -5.66%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 162.60p -5.36%
Prudential (PRU) 725.50p -4.85%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,376.00p -4.82%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 496.90p -4.72%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,426.00p -4.62%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 849.00p -4.55%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,559.00p -4.47%
Barclays (BARC) 204.55p -4.21%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Cable & Wireless Worldwide (CW.) 35.90p +12.19%
Salamander Energy (SMDR) 251.70p +1.33%
Ophir Energy (OPHR) 559.00p +1.08%
Drax Group (DRX) 532.00p +1.04%
De La Rue (DLAR) 932.50p +0.97%
Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) 31.50p +0.67%
Domino's Pizza UK & IRL (DOM) 434.80p +0.65%
BH Macro Ltd. GBP
Shares (BHMG) 2,044.00p +0.64%
Betfair Group (BET) 816.00p +0.49%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 356.70p +0.48%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Bumi (BUMI) 497.40p -8.48%
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 50.90p -7.29%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 128.40p -6.62%
Afren (AFR) 140.30p -6.47%
Regus (RGU) 105.30p -5.14%
Atkins (WS) (ATK) 718.50p -4.96%
Morgan Crucible Co (MGCR) 312.70p -4.93%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 622.00p -4.89%
Halfords Group (HFD) 271.70p -4.83%
Supergroup (SGP) 335.00p -4.78%