- Miners fall on global growth concerns
- Supermarkets perform well after broker comments
- World Bank cuts Chinese growth forecasts
Cyclical stocks suffered falls on Monday as growing uncertainty about the Eurozone and concerns over global growth dampened the mood.
"Stocks traded lower today as investors risk appetite faded ahead of the US corporate earnings season," said market analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari. Aluminium giant Alcoa kicks off results announcement after the close this evening.
Erlam said: "There is also growing fears in the Eurozone that progress is not being made quickly enough to have any impact in the shorter term. Spain has still shown no signs of requesting a bailout and Greece look no closer to agreeing another round of cuts with the Troika in order to receive the next tranche of the bailout."
Eurozone Finance and Economic Ministers are meeting in Luxembourg today to discuss the region's top issues with Madrid and Athens at the top of the agenda. European Central Bank (ECB) governing council member Jorg Asmussen was cited over the weekend as saying that Greece cannot be given more time by the ECB to meet its commitments as that would amount to state financing.
A gloomy outlook from British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne also helped to weigh on sentiment today. Speaking at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham today, he said: "the future prosperity of our country [and] the stability of Europe [...] is in question in a way it has not been before in my lifetime."
The World Bank cut its 2012 growth estimate for China from 8.2% to 7.7%, saying that the economy has been hit by weak export demand and investment growth. "China's slowdown this year has been significant, and some fear it could still accelerate," the World Bank said.
This follows the leaked estimates of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts last week. The IMF is expected to announce tomorrow that it has revised down its global growth expectations for this year and the next.
FTSE 100: Miners drop as supermarkets gain
Steel giant Evraz was a heavy faller after Nomura revised its steel demand growth forecast from 3% to 0% for 2013, saying that it expects "further weakness" in the sector. "We expect continued weakness in the sector as investors are unlikely to buy the equities into what is already expected to be a challenging 3Q results season," the broker said. Mining peers Vedanta, ENRC and Kazakhmys were also firmly out of favour.
Xstrata also finished lower on reports that employees at its Eland platinum mine in South Africa are on an "illegal strike". According to Reuters, a company has said that the strikes begun last Friday and operations are running on a skeleton staff.
Supermarket giants Tesco, Sainsbury and Morrisons were among the few stocks to finish in the blue today after Panmure Gordon said that the food retail sector is in for a re-rating "as it becomes investable again". The broker said that it expects "significant, unstoppable strategic changes to unfold over the next six to 12 months in the food retail sector".
BP finished flat after announcing that it is selling its Texas refinery and associated assets to American peer Marathon Petroleum for a total of $2.5bn, as it continues to reposition its business in the US.
Shares in BAE Systems were slightly lower after its largest shareholder Invesco (which owns 13.3%) highlighted "significant reservations" it has about the group's potential merger with aerospace giant EADS.
Imperial Tobacco was trading lower after Nomura downgraded its rating on the stock from 'neutral' to 'reduce' as part of its sector review on the European tobacco sector.
FTSE 250: Cookson drops on slowdown concerns; Halfords jumps
Cookson, which provides materials and know-how to the steel production, foundry castings and eletronics markets, has warned on full-year profits after a sticky third quarter for its Engineered Ceramics division. Investec said this morning that 10% downgrades to consensus earnings estimates are now likely.
Halfords was continuing its impressive rise after HSBC hiked its target price for the stock from 215p to 330p, keeping its 'neutral' rating. The share price is now up over a fifth over the last week after announcing on Thursday that it had appointed former Pets at Home CEO as its new frontman and full-year profits will be at the top end of guidance.
Bacon and sausage supplier Cranswick was lower after saying that sales were up just 5% in the first half as a whole, down from the 7.4% growth seen in the first three months of the year.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 283.90p +2.05%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 672.00p +0.90%
Carnival (CCL) 2,376.00p +0.68%
Tesco (TSCO) 317.35p +0.63%
BG Group (BG.) 1,308.00p +0.58%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 355.00p +0.51%
Babcock International Group (BAB) 969.00p +0.47%
Pennon Group (PNN) 733.50p +0.34%
Unilever (ULVR) 2,327.00p +0.30%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 2,749.00p +0.29%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
GKN (GKN) 216.90p -4.15%
Evraz (EVR) 244.70p -3.70%
Melrose (MRO) 238.40p -3.25%
Croda International (CRDA) 2,290.00p -3.09%
BT Group (BT.A) 226.90p -3.03%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,068.00p -3.00%
Amec (AMEC) 1,113.00p -2.54%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,806.00p -2.48%
Barclays (BARC) 222.35p -2.41%
IMI (IMI) 948.00p -2.37%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Halfords Group (HFD) 314.60p +3.97%
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 1,390.00p +2.73%
Dixons Retail (DXNS) 21.53p +2.62%
Victrex (VCT) 1,411.00p +2.25%
Telecity Group (TCY) 957.00p +1.92%
Perform Group (PER) 436.00p +1.73%
Ted Baker (TED) 935.00p +1.52%
COLT Group SA (COLT) 120.70p +1.51%
Diploma (DPLM) 497.90p +1.43%
Rank Group (RNK) 151.40p +1.27%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Cookson Group (CKSN) 539.00p -12.36%
Morgan Crucible Co (MGCR) 257.80p -7.76%
Lonmin (LMI) 516.50p -5.92%
Cranswick (CWK) 745.00p -5.87%
Yule Catto & Co (YULC) 167.40p -5.26%
Bodycote (BOY) 391.00p -4.89%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 65.60p -4.51%
Homeserve (HSV) 219.20p -4.45%
Hays (HAS) 75.20p -4.39%
IP Group (IPO) 119.40p -4.33%