- Taper speculation picks up ahead of non-farm payrolls
- Global manufacturing figures beat forecasts
- Miners sold off as metal prices fall
- Supermarkets hit by competition fears
techMARK 2,653.70 -0.76%
FTSE 100 6,595.33 -0.83%
FTSE 250 15,334.75 -0.85%
London's FTSE 100 finished with moderate losses on Monday after some steep falls in the heavyweight mining sector as equities tracked the prices of metals lower.
Precious metals peers Fresnillo and Randgold were among the worst performers by the close, as the price of gold dropped to its lowest since July on fears that the Federal Reserve will soon begin to scale back its stimulus programme.
The concerns were prompted by a report from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) which showed that US manufacturing activity accelerated in November at its quickest pace in over two years.
"Obviously, the Fed is more focused on the labour market data specifically but, at the margin, this is more evidence in favour of an earlier taper," said Economic Amna Asaf from Capital Economics.
The FTSE 100 closed 55.24 points lower at 6,595.33 this afternoon, down 0.83% on the day.
It's set to be a busy week for financial markets with a barrage of data from across the globe due out as well as policy meetings at the Bank of England and European Central Bank.
Figures from the UK, Eurozone and China today also showed that manufacturing activity was better than expected last month; however there was little reaction on markets as the focus remained firmly on the US with markets preparing for the all-important non-farm payrolls figures on Friday.
"A busy week crammed with economic indicators and events warrants some hesitation," said Market Strategist Ishaq Siddiqi from ETX Capital. He said that the upcoming events have "left investors feeling less risky, waiting for these high profile events to take place before ramping up appetite for risk".
Miners and supermarkets drop
A 2.1% drop the price of gold to $1.224.60 an ounce prompted a sell-off in the gold mining sector today with Fresnillo, Randgold, African Barrick Gold and Polymetal falling sharply. Other miners including Anglo American, Vedanta and Kazakhmys also finished with heavy losses as metal prices across the board declined. Analysts at Citi described Anglo American as their least favoured name among the large-cap miners.
Supermarkets were also under the weather today on fears of rising competition in the sector after discount supermarket Lidl announced plans to more than double the amount of stores it has in the UK. Sainsbury, Morrison and Tesco finished firmly lower with the latter also weighed down by a ratings cut from HSBC.
Credit Suisse downgraded its recommendation for asset management group Aberdeen from 'outperform' to 'neutral' today, causing the stock to fall after the bank said it is now fairly valued. It said that the shares
are now largely factoring in the potential earnings accretion from the recently announced deal to buy the Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP) business from Lloyds.
Barclays Capital pushed High Street retailer Debenhams lower by shifting its rating from 'equal weight' to 'underweight', saying it sees 18% downside to the current share price. The bank raised concerns about "margin-erosive" sales online cannibalising store sales, and said that share buybacks will likely be postponed until 2016.
Utility providers Centrica and SSE fell after the government announced changes to obligations that are paid through energy bills to offset the rising cost of living across the UK. Both companies said that they would pass on savings to customers, with bills set to rise by a smaller rate than initially estimated.
Consumer products giant Unilever was unwanted after its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Paul Polman was quoted as saying that the slowdown being seen in the emerging markets (EM) could "a few years".
Banking group Lloyds gained after announcing that Lord Blackwell will succeed Sir Winfried Bischoff as Chairman as of April next year. On Friday Investec highlighted how under the proposed changes to FLS Lloyds would now be able to borrow at a 25 basis point spread (previously up to 150 basis points).
Meanwhile, investment and wealth management firm Rathbone Brothers fell after the news that its long-running CEO Andy Pomfret is to retire next year.
FTSE 100 - Risers
TUI Travel (TT.) 375.30p +2.18%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 78.58p +1.52%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 331.40p +1.28%
Croda International (CRDA) 2,346.00p +0.95%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 743.50p +0.68%
Compass Group (CPG) 926.00p +0.54%
Capita (CPI) 1,001.00p +0.40%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 367.60p +0.35%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 1,909.00p +0.32%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,299.00p +0.26%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Fresnillo (FRES) 760.00p -8.76%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,157.00p -4.35%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,293.00p -4.15%
Mondi (MNDI) 973.00p -3.18%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 859.50p -2.88%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,233.00p -2.61%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 396.80p -2.60%
Shire Plc (SHP) 2,709.00p -2.27%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 259.50p -2.26%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,215.00p -2.25%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Enterprise Inns (ETI) 141.00p +2.17%
Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 1,265.00p +1.77%
Greencore Group (GNC) 195.40p +1.51%
Cranswick (CWK) 1,156.00p +1.31%
Ted Baker (TED) 2,028.00p +1.30%
Homeserve (HSV) 259.70p +1.21%
Stagecoach Group (SGC) 369.80p +1.15%
Greene King (GNK) 882.00p +1.15%
RPC Group (RPC) 505.00p +1.00%
Menzies(John) (MNZS) 784.50p +0.97%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
IP Group (IPO) 180.10p -6.20%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 224.00p -5.60%
Rank Group (RNK) 139.00p -5.44%
Carpetright (CPR) 570.50p -5.23%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 162.30p -5.14%
Polymetal International (POLY) 510.00p -4.40%
ITE Group (ITE) 294.70p -4.32%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 79.35p -4.11%
Halfords Group (HFD) 469.00p -3.97%
Debenhams (DEB) 92.95p -3.93%