- FTSE 100 at lowest level since October 14th
- US jobs report in focus as taper speculation picks up
- UK construction activity at six-year high
techMARK 2,640.56 -0.50%
FTSE 100 6,532.43 -0.95%
FTSE 250 15,153.14 -1.18%
The FTSE 100 finished around one per cent lower on Tuesday and at a seven-week low as weakness in the mining and financial sectors weighed heavily on London's benchmark index.
Despite data earlier in the session showing an unexpected surge in UK construction activity last month, investors were beginning to scale back risk appetite ahead of a busy end to the week, full of central bank meetings and economic data from across the globe.
Eyes remain firmly fixed on the US November jobs report due Friday with investors wary that a stronger-than-expected increase in non-farm payrolls could prompt the Federal Reserve to begin scaling back stimulus at its next meeting on December 17-18th. These fears were renewed yesterday after data showed that US manufacturing activity jumped to a two-and-a-half-year high last month.
The FTSE 100 finished down 62.9 points at 6,532.43 this afternoon, its lowest level since October 14th when it closed at 6,507.65.
"If the FTSE is going to maintain its 10-year record of rising over the month of December, it is going to do it the hard way: the index is down over 100 points in the first couple of days' trading," noted Market Analyst Alastair McCaig from IG.
"The significant economic data due over the next few days has given those with a nervous disposition ample reason to flap, resulting in substantial sell-offs in almost all the major markets worldwide."
Markets were relatively unfazed this morning by the UK construction purchasing managers' index (PMI) for November which smashed forecasts. The PMI unexpectedly surged to a six-year high of 62.6 last month, up from 59.4 in October and well ahead of the forecast for a slight fall to 59.
Miners, financials drift lower
It was a calmer day on the commodity markets today, though stocks in the mining sector were still reeling after a sell-off in metal prices on Monday. Randgold, Antofagasta, Vedanta Resources and Glencore Xstrata finished in the red. Rio Tinto pared losses but still finished lower after saying that it will cut capital spending significantly over the next two years.
UBS was also providing some downwards pressure as it slashed target price across the sector after making reductions in gold and silver forecasts for 2014 and 2015.
Financial stocks were mostly lower with savings and investment group Old Mutual among the worst performers as JPMorgan Cazenove trimmed its target price after adjusting for currency movements.
Meanwhile, HSBC was hit by a downgrade from Nomura to 'neutral' with analyst Chintan Joshi saying that regulation is the "main headwind to the dividend story" at the bank.
Retailers such as Next, Ted Baker and Sports Direct rose after the British Retail Consortium said that despite overall subdued sales growth in November clothing retailers had performed well. Next was being helped higher by Oriel Securities which upped its rating from 'hold' to 'buy'.
Smith & Nephew gained after Morgan Stanley raised its rating to 'overweight', recommending investors to add exposure to the European healthcare equipment sector in 2014.
Bookmaker William Hill was also in demand after UBS lifted the shares
to 'buy', saying it is "well placed to benefit from the UK recovery".
Shares in building materials supplier Travis Perkins slid lower as new Chief Executive John Carter made his first strategy presentation to institutional investors and City analysts. Carter said he expects "good growth" in all sectors, including General Merchanting, Plumbing and Heating, Contracts and Consumer, but the stock still finished down, along with sector peer CRH.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Next (NXT) 5,515.00p +2.13%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 828.50p +1.91%
William Hill (WMH) 387.10p +1.60%
Tate & Lyle (TATE) 786.50p +0.83%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,301.00p +0.62%
SSE (SSE) 1,326.00p +0.45%
Tesco (TSCO) 341.60p +0.21%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 651.50p +0.15%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 259.80p +0.12%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 483.70p +0.10%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
CRH (CRH) 1,471.00p -4.42%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 280.30p -3.58%
Old Mutual (OML) 189.20p -3.57%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 754.00p -3.40%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,017.00p -3.37%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,723.00p -3.26%
Wolseley (WOS) 3,186.00p -3.19%
Mondi (MNDI) 942.50p -3.13%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,480.00p -2.95%
Resolution Ltd. (RSL) 330.70p -2.79%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Ted Baker (TED) 2,128.00p +4.93%
Betfair Group (BET) 1,080.00p +4.85%
Brewin Dolphin Holdings (BRW) 280.60p +3.54%
NMC Health (NMC) 410.00p +3.14%
Fisher (James) & Sons (FSJ) 1,162.00p +2.56%
Homeserve (HSV) 264.70p +1.93%
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 2,136.00p +1.91%
Xaar (XAR) 1,025.00p +1.79%
ITE Group (ITE) 299.80p +1.73%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 4,389.00p +1.48%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 125.10p -8.89%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 152.60p -5.98%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 74.85p -5.67%
Carpetright (CPR) 540.00p -5.35%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 39.58p -4.83%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 213.50p -4.69%
AZ Electronic Materials SA (DI) (AZEM) 263.50p -4.67%
Perform Group (PER) 411.00p -4.64%
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 168.30p -3.99%
Ladbrokes (LAD) 168.10p -3.61%