- Lufthansa profit warning hits airline stocks
- Rolls-Royce falls as Emirates cancels order
- UK unemployment falls, wage growth slows
- World Bank cuts growth forecasts
techMARK 2,839.77 -0.68%
FTSE 100 6,838.15 -0.52%
FTSE 250 16,031.19 -1.11%
Mixed labour-market data, a growth downgrade from the World Bank and ex-dividend stocks were weighing on London's FTSE 100 on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, sentiment among airlines and engineers was dampened by a profit warning from Deutsche Lufthansa and a cancelled aeroplane order at Emirates Airlines.
The FTSE 100 was trading 0.5% lower at 6,838 around midday.
A bigger-than-expected drop in the UK unemployment rate to a five-year low of 6.6% failed to have a positive effect on the market this morning as it came alongside figures that showed that wages were rising at a rate well below inflation. The annual growth in average weekly earnings slowed to just 0.7% in the three months to April, compared with the current consumer price inflation rate at 1.8%.
"Weak pay growth and the 'cost of living crisis' remains the Achilles Heel of the economic recovery," said Chris Williamson, Chief Economist at Markit. However, he did say that he expects earnings growth to "pick up in the coming months, perhaps significantly".
In other news, the World Bank has downgraded its 2014 growth forecast for the global economy from 3.2% to 2.8%, saying that developing nations are headed for a year of "disappointing growth". Weakness in the first quarter across the developing world has delayed an expected pickup in economic activity, according to the World Bank's Global Economic Prospects (GEP) report, published twice every year.
US stock futures were pointing to a weak start on Wall Street later on with the Dow Jones Industrial Average set to retreat from its recent all-time highs.
Brenda Kelly, Chief Market Strategist at IG, said: "There still aren't many reasons to actually buy into the market, with the lack of economic news being an obvious culprit. As a result, it seems the existing holding pattern is likely to be repeated this afternoon."
Ex-div stocks, airlines, engineers
A number of stocks were trading lower this morning after going ex-dividend, including heavyweights Vodafone and Johnson Matthey. Booker, Intermediate Capital and LondonMetric Property also went ex-dividend today.
Airline groups IAG and easyJet were falling sharply after German peer Lufthansa plummeted in Frankfurt following the news that it would not hit profit guidance for the next two years.
The cancellation of Emirates Airlines' major order for 70 new Airbus also dampened sentiment in the aviation industry, sparking "concerns about the health of traditionally strong traffic volumes from the Middle East", according to Mike van Dulken, Head of Research at Accendo Markets.
The news also hit shares
of engineer Rolls-Royce, whose order book is to reduce by 3.5% or £2.6bn because of the cancellation.
J Sainsbury was on shopping lists after a less-than-estimated 1.1% fall in like-for-like (LFL)retail sales excluding fuel in its first quarter, showing that the company has been more resilient than its rivals Tesco and Wm Morrison, who both recently reported a steeper slump in LFL sales.
Brewer SABMiller was lower as the stock pulled back after an M&A-inspired boost on Tuesday when it was reported that a merger with European peer Anheuser-Busch InBev could be on the cards.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 336.80p +2.12%
Glencore (GLEN) 325.00p +0.56%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,460.00p +0.55%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 195.50p +0.51%
Tesco (TSCO) 296.90p +0.51%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 4,367.00p +0.44%
National Grid (NG.) 834.50p +0.42%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 776.00p +0.39%
G4S (GFS) 251.80p +0.32%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 457.00p +0.29%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 394.80p -4.31%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,539.00p -3.39%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 202.05p -3.26%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 1,048.00p -2.60%
Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,314.00p -2.45%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,071.00p -2.37%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 901.00p -2.28%
SABMiller (SAB) 3,382.00p -2.25%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,220.00p -2.09%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,681.00p -1.98%
FTSE 250 - Risers
esure Group (ESUR) 269.30p +2.67%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 221.20p +1.94%
Perform Group (PER) 266.70p +1.41%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 279.60p +1.30%
AL Noor Hospitals Group (ANH) 1,041.00p +1.17%
IP Group (IPO) 182.60p +0.94%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 252.60p +0.84%
Hiscox Ltd (CDI) (HSX) 690.50p +0.80%
Betfair Group (BET) 1,030.00p +0.78%
Barr (A.G.) (BAG) 632.50p +0.72%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Supergroup (SGP) 1,079.00p -6.17%
Halfords Group (HFD) 487.90p -4.61%
LondonMetric Property (LMP) 138.20p -4.03%
Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 403.00p -3.93%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 132.30p -3.71%
Greencore Group (GNC) 272.10p -3.68%
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 2,313.00p -3.54%
Unite Group (UTG) 417.50p -3.31%
Afren (AFR) 146.30p -3.11%
Kentz Corporation Ltd. (KENZ) 725.00p -3.07%