- US payrolls data sinks global markets
- Eurozone services PMI revised lower
- Miners lead fallers in London, RBS erases gains
The early sell-off for the FTSE 100 accelerated in afternoon trade after the increase in US payrolls came in well below expectations fuelling a sell-off in global stock markets. The London benchmark was registering a triple-digit decline by the end of the day which translated to 1.9 per cent fall for the week.
US non-farm payrolls increased by 115,000 in April, disappointing economists who had expected an increase of around 165,000. The disappointment was tempered, however, by an upward revision to March's figures; having previously indicated 120,000 new jobs were added in March, the Labor Department revised that number up to 155,000. However, April's gain of 115,000 was the smallest in six months. The unemployment rate in April fell to 8.1% from March's 8.2%.
"In terms of policy, we do not believe today's report is sufficient to shift the Fed into action at the June meeting, but we believe the Fed will certainly remain alert and in the position of monitoring the incoming data flow carefully," said analyst Michael Gapen from Barclays Capital.
The news saw US benchmarks drop over one per cent in early trading in New York, while stocks in Europe were also suffering heavy losses after some revised Eurozone services data further dampened sentiment.
Markit's services purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the Eurozone was revised lower today with the final services PMI coming in at 46.9 in April from 49.2 the month before. The preliminary reading was 47.9 meaning that the sector was contracting at a faster rate than initially thought. As a result, the final composite PMI (the average of the manufacturing and services sectors) was revised lower from 47.4 to 46.7, down from 49.1 in March.
FTSE 100: Miners drop on US data, Australian GDP
In London, miners were being sold off after gloomy economic data from the US and Europe led to concerns about the global recovery. In addition to this, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) now expects its gross domestic product (GDP) to expand by 3% in 2012, lower than its earlier forecast of 3.5% in February. Kazakhmys, ENRC, Vedanta, Rio Tinto, Anglo American and BHP Billiton were among the worst performing stocks by the close.
Part-nationalised lender Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) erased earlier gains following this morning's first-quarter results as it joined in with the sell-off. Stocks rose initially after the group posted an operating profit of £1,184m in the first three months of the year, compared with a loss of £144m in the fourth quarter of 2011.
However, sector peer Lloyds was among the few stocks to finish today's session in the blue after broker WestLB upgraded its rating on the stock from add to buy.
Oil giant Tullow dropped after saying that its Teak-4A appraisal well in the West Cape Three Points Block, offshore Ghana (in which it owns a 26.4% stake), encountered "thin, non-commercial reservoirs" and is, in turn, being plugged and abandoned.
Power systems group Rolls-Royce fell after giving a brief trading update this morning, reassuring that trading since the start of the year has been consistent with previous guidance.
FTSE 250: Diary Crest bucks the trend, Exillon drops
Just a dozen or so stocks on the second-tier index kept their heads above water today with milk, cheese and spreads group Dairy Crest being one of them after Jefferies initiated coverage of the firm today with a buy recommendation. The broker said that the stock has de-rated after recent falls which now "fully discounts the challenges in Dairy and fundamentally undervalues its stable of top-tier brands."
Heading the other way was oil group Exillon Energy as oil prices
tanked on the back of the poor data from the US. Brent was trading nearly 4% lower by the close in London at $112.13.
Pest control and hygiene services group Rentokil Initial was unwanted after saying that operating profits fell year-on-year mainly as a result of higher central costs and losses at its City Link franchise.
Laird, which makes antennas and heat protection components often used in tablet computers and smartphones, says difficult trading conditions have continued into the first quarter, although it expects a 'seasonal uplift'.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 32.62p +3.08%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,635.00p +1.18%
Tesco (TSCO) 319.20p +0.31%
International Power (IPR) 417.70p +0.07%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 774.00p -6.18%
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) 520.00p -5.97%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 1,469.00p -5.65%
Man Group (EMG) 88.75p -5.03%
CRH (CRH) 1,174.00p -5.02%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,122.00p -4.92%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,214.50p -4.42%
Anglo American (AAL) 2,263.00p -4.31%
BG Group (BG.) 1,364.00p -4.25%
Amec (AMEC) 1,082.00p -4.25%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Rank Group (RNK) 116.50p +1.39%
BH Macro Ltd. EUR Shares (BHME) € 19.61 +1.29%
Bwin.party Digital Entertainment (BPTY) 158.00p +1.22%
Dairy Crest Group (DCG) 306.10p +0.79%
Supergroup (SGP) 333.00p +0.63%
Big Yellow Group (BYG) 301.60p +0.63%
Northgate (NTG) 206.50p +0.44%
BlueCrest AllBlue Fund Ltd. GBP
Shares (BABS) 161.10p +0.37%
BH Macro Ltd. USD Shares (BHMU) 19.35 +0.36%
COLT Group SA (COLT) 119.60p +0.34%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Exillon Energy (EXI) 123.00p -9.16%
Hays (HAS) 83.35p -8.41%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 47.69p -7.67%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 611.00p -7.63%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 134.10p -7.58%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 124.30p -7.45%
Salamander Energy (SMDR) 192.60p -7.40%
Lamprell (LAM) 337.90p -7.40%
Heritage Oil (HOIL) 137.50p -7.09%
Talvivaara Mining Company (TALV) 157.00p -6.66%