- FTSE closes down 85.06 at 6,738.45
- Airlines lead downside
- Industrial production registers surprise fall
techMARK 2,794.08 -1.75%
FTSE 100 6,738.45 -1.25%
FTSE 250 15,652.48 -1.51%
The UK's biggest 100 stocks took a significant hit in today's session, weighed down by an unexpected drop in industrial production, a decline among airlines and cautious trading ahead of the release of minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting tomorrow.
Traders are also gearing up for aluminium producer Alcoa's results this evening, which unofficially marks the start of the second quarter earnings season Stateside.
The FTSE closed down 85.06 points at 6,738.45.
Jasper Lawler, a Market Analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: "Markets in Europe were looking soft again today as UK industrial contraction, a profit warning from Air France and possible US fines against top German banks took their toll."
Industrial production fell by 0.7% over the month in May, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), mainly due to a fall in manufacturing output.
Consensus forecasts were for a rise of 0.3% month-on-month (3.2% year-on-year). On the upside, UK output was 2.3% higher versus a year ago. Economists blamed weaker demand from overseas as well as the headwind of strengthening sterling.
"Expectations are often missed, but the declines in UK manufacturing data went completely against recent PMIs and were quite a shock," Lawler noted.
The potential fine faced by German banks from US authorities knocked sentiment in Europe. According to Reuters, sources told it settlement talks had begun with both Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank relating to its operations involving countries black-listed by the US.
Germany was also affected by another widening of its trade balance, which in May hit a record high, though both exports and imports declined.
Exports fell on the month by 1.1% compared to analysts' forecast for a 0.3% decline. April's rise was revised down to 2.6% from the initial reading of 3.0%, while imports unexpectedly declined by 3.4%, whereas consensus had been looking for a 0.5% increase. April's data was notched up to a 0.2% rise, from the prior estimate of a 0.1% increase.
Airlines swoop lower after Air France profit warning
Airline stocks IAG and easyJet were falling sharply today as European peer Air France-KLM cut its profit guidance for the year. In comments similar to those made by Deutsche Lufthansa, the French-Dutch airline said that overcapacity on long-haul flights was having an impact on profitability.
Hargreaves Lansdown dropped following HSBC's decision to stick with its 'underweight' rating.
Marks & Spencer fell as investors responded to a mixed first-quarter update and this morning's annual general meeting. While the high street department store chain blamed a drop in UK like-for-like sales on the impact of its new website and fewer promotions, it expressed confidence in improving trends in clothing, particularly Womenswear.
Shire was significantly lower after US pharmaceutical group AbbVie raised its offer to £51.15 per share, valuing its Dublin-based rival at more than £30bn ($51bn). Shire responded later that, as the Chicago drugmaker had not sent it the proposal before making the announcement, its board would meet to consider the proposal.
Mining stocks were mostly higher this afternoon, with Rio Tinto among the best performers after Morgan Stanley lifted its target prices for the stock.
Glencore was also lifted by the news it has completed the acquisition of Caracal, which it said would "strengthen our growing African oil business".
Prudential was lifted by Sanford C. Berstein, which upped its "outperform" rating on the stock.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,330.00p +0.83%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,694.00p +0.53%
Glencore (GLEN) 344.10p +0.47%
Friends Life Group Limited (FLG) 320.60p +0.25%
Prudential (PRU) 1,380.00p +0.15%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,574.00p +0.13%
Meggitt (MGGT) 501.00p +0.10%
Standard Life (SL.) 379.90p +0.08%
National Grid (NG.) 850.00p +0.06%
Sage Group (SGE) 383.20p +0.05%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 335.90p -7.00%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,248.00p -5.81%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,182.00p -4.75%
GKN (GKN) 352.40p -3.61%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 720.00p -3.29%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,077.00p -2.96%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 191.05p -2.95%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 320.20p -2.94%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 876.50p -2.88%
BG Group (BG.) 1,223.50p -2.67%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Foxtons Group (FOXT) 307.00p +1.39%
Catlin Group Ltd. (CGL) 550.50p +1.29%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 224.30p +1.13%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 68.70p +1.03%
Vesuvius (VSVS) 457.70p +0.90%
Riverstone Energy Limited (RSE) 918.50p +0.82%
AL Noor Hospitals Group (ANH) 990.00p +0.81%
Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 1,107.00p +0.64%
3i Infrastructure (3IN) 134.00p +0.60%
Poundland Group (PLND) 345.00p +0.58%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
SIG (SHI) 175.00p -9.33%
Lonmin (LMI) 228.50p -7.45%
Just Eat (JE.) 239.60p -7.06%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 390.70p -6.55%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 163.00p -5.64%
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 126.90p -5.51%
RPS Group (RPS) 274.50p -5.08%
Rightmove (RMV) 2,167.00p -4.96%
Grafton Group Units (GFTU) 570.00p -4.68%
Greencore Group (GNC) 269.00p -4.61%