- Markets fall as investors look ahead to Fed meeting
- Economic data from China, UK reports comes in mixed
- Gold miners track metal prices higher
- Weir gains on M&A rumours
techMARK 2,672.70 -0.26%
FTSE 100 6,523.31 -0.55%
FTSE 250 15,410.79 +0.12%
UK stocks finished firmly lower on Tuesday after erasing earlier gains, as markets began to adopt a cautious approach ahead of the Federal Reserve's policy meeting next week.
Equities dropped into the red after a weak start on Wall Street with investors taking profits after the S&P 500
hit another all-time high on Monday evening - its 39th record close of the year.
Speculation about a tapering of stimulus in the States has ramped up over recent day after a much-better-than-expected US jobs report and comments from a number of Fed officials. St Louis Fed President James Bullard in particular floated the idea of a "small taper" this month given the recent improvements in the labour market.
The FTSE 100 finished 36.17 points lower at 6,523.31, a fall of 0.55% on the day.
"The residual positivity from the US equity closes this morning has worn off, as investors look ahead to the rest of the week and the economic releases that may potentially cement even a small scaling back of asset purchases this month," said Senior Market Strategist Brenda Kelly from IG.
According to a recent survey by Bloomberg, 12 out of 35 economists believe that the Fed will begin to taper at its meeting on December 17-18th, nine said a withdrawal will start in January while the remaining 14 don't expect a scaling back of stimulus until March.
Investors were also digesting a raft of mixed economic data from China today, as a pick-up in retail sales growth in November came alongside a slowdown in industrial output and fixed-asset investment.
Meanwhile, in the UK, industrial and manufacturing production growth both accelerated in October, but the trade deficit for October was wider than expected.
"With all the recent bullish news about the UK's recovery with George Osborne declaring the job was half done at his autumn statement, [the trade data] could act as a stark reminder that we aren't out of the woods just yet," said Financial Sales Trader Alex Conroy from Spreadex.
Precious metal miners jump
Randgold Resources topped the leader board this afternoon, tracking the price of gold higher, which was up 2.25% at $1,262 a barrel. Even Fresnillo was higher, erasing earlier losses after it lowered its annual gold production forecast by 8.4% to 425,900 ounces.
Engineering group Weir was another high riser, extending gains after a solid performance on Monday on renewed rumours that it could be the target of a possible £5.9bn bid from US conglomerate General Electric. Towards the early afternoon the stock approached its [exponential] 200-day moving average.
Airline group IAG was still flying higher following yesterday's reports that subsidiary British Airways is looking to block changes to its APS pension scheme that could lead to increased payments to its retired employees.
Oil group Tullow continued to fall one day after saying it has plugged and abandoned its Tultule-1 wildcat well onshore Ethiopia after it failed to encounter oil.
Whitbread, the owner of the Premier Inn, Beefeater and Costa chains, fell despite saying it is on track to deliver full-year results in line with expectations following a strong third quarter.
Travel tour operator TUI Travel finished lower despite beating expectations with a 21% jump in full-year underlying profits. However, analyst James Hollins from Investec kept a 'sell' rating on the stock today, saying that earnings forecasts for the current year could come under pressure.
Investors at wireless technology firm CSR celebrated the company's decision to discontinue investment in its camera-on-a-chip (COACH) platform due to "weakness in the digital still camera market". The firm said it would be taking an impairment charge of $90m.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,141.00p +4.12%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,272.00p +3.58%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,132.00p +2.90%
Fresnillo (FRES) 756.00p +1.89%
Prudential (PRU) 1,287.00p +1.66%
Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,399.00p +1.52%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 264.00p +1.42%
Mondi (MNDI) 975.00p +1.09%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 2,989.00p +1.08%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 370.00p +1.07%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,284.00p -2.28%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 804.00p -2.13%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,807.50p -1.98%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 853.50p -1.84%
Croda International (CRDA) 2,268.00p -1.48%
TUI Travel (TT.) 378.30p -1.48%
GKN (GKN) 358.80p -1.43%
Whitbread (WTB) 3,475.00p -1.42%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 4,714.00p -1.40%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,579.50p -1.25%
FTSE 250 - Risers
CSR (CSR) 559.50p +9.71%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 127.50p +4.59%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 163.80p +4.33%
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 19.78p +4.27%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 114.70p +4.27%
Victrex (VCT) 1,631.00p +4.22%
AL Noor Hospitals Group (ANH) 917.00p +4.20%
Savills (SVS) 643.50p +4.04%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 740.00p +3.71%
Chemring Group (CHG) 206.40p +2.69%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Essar Energy (ESSR) 67.05p -8.46%
Dialight (DIA) 845.00p -3.98%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 206.40p -3.23%
esure Group (ESUR) 243.00p -2.80%
Enterprise Inns (ETI) 139.10p -2.39%
Premier Farnell (PFL) 209.90p -2.05%
Menzies(John) (MNZS) 759.50p -1.94%
Halfords Group (HFD) 467.90p -1.91%
Bodycote (BOY) 618.00p -1.90%
Greene King (GNK) 838.50p -1.87%