- IMF warns about Eurozone crisis
- Unions call for strikes in Greece
- Banks gain on speculation of eased capital rules
UK stocks suffered more losses on Wednesday in spite of some relative strength in the banking sector, as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned about the risks emanating from the Eurozone debt crisis.
"The mood still remains downbeat at the moment after the IMF reiterated concerns that the eurozone are not doing enough to combat the crisis. These comments are most likely directed towards the long running saga with Spain, with recent comments by their Finance Minister doing little to raise hopes of a speedy solution," said analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari.
The IMF said that risks to global financial stability have increased and financial markets have been volatile as European policymakers grapple with the ongoing crisis. The Fund notes that failing to deal with the current issues could end up forcing Eurozone banks into an asset shrinkage of anywhere from $2.8tn to $4.5tn by the end of next year.
Stocks slipped yesterday after the IMF cut its global growth forecasts for this year and the next. On Monday, the World Bank lowered its growth estimates for East Asia, warning of a deceleration in the Chinese economy.
Meanwhile, US aluminium giant Alcoa kicked off third-quarter earnings season last night after the closing bell on Wall Street. While the firm beat earnings and sales forecasts, the company cut its full-year aluminium demand growth forecast from 7% to 6%, saying that a slowdown in China "slightly impacts the second-half outlook".
On a more positive note, following his meetings yesterday with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has said that he is confident that the next tranche of Greece's bailout will arrive on time. This follows comments that the country would not be able to survive beyond November without the next part of aid.
Public- and private-sector labour unions in Greece called for a 24-hour general strike for October 18th as a result of the harsh austerity measures tied with the bailout, according to reports.
FTSE 100: Banks in demand; crunch time for BAE
Banking peers Lloyds, RBS and Barclays were among the strongest performers today after the Financial Times reported that the FSA has eased capital and liquidity rules in an attempt to boost lending.
Meanwhile, according to reports hits morning, RBS has agreed to sell two buildings in Frankfurt and Berlin to Axa Investment Management for $1bn.
Defence group BAE Systems was continuing to register losses as last-ditch talks to salvage its £28bn-merger with EADS took place. The two firms have until 17:00 to announce the terms of the merger or ask for more time to finalise their plans, under rules set down by the UK's City Takeover Panel.
Smith & Nephew, Kingfisher and Wolseley were among the fallers after going ex-dividend. From today, investors will not be able to get hold of their latest dividend payments. Smith & Nephew was also being weighed down by Societe Generale which initiated its coverage on the stock with a 'sell' rating this morning.
Randgold was lower after Nomura reiterated its 'reduce' rating on the shares. While the broker said that gold equities have the potential for further outperformance, it said that Randgold is "fully priced (for now)".
Outsourcing group Capita fell after both RBC Capital Markets and Panmure Gordon downgraded their ratings for the stock. Panmure said that Capita's premium rating "is at odds with concerns over the quality of future earnings, above average financial leverage and on-going reliance on M&A."
Aggreko is off following a profit warning from US outfit Cummins, which is also weighing on the likes of GKN and IMI.
FTSE 250: N Brown, SuperGroup moved by broker commentary
Imagination Technologies is now leading falls on the FTSE 350, with some market chatter attributing the losses to a negative note out on the company from analysts at Credit Suisse. In the same they have pointed out that; "Momentum looks negative: Of Imagination's four key customers, Samsung this year moved to ARM graphics, Texas Instruments is exiting the wireless business, and Mediatek could, in our view, try ARM graphics in its smartphone chips as it already uses its graphics in feature phones and TV."
N Brown, the internet and catalogue home shopping firm, was out of favour after Panmure Gordon downgraded its recommendation to 'hold' ahead of the group's interim results next week. "We move to a 'hold' rating from 'buy', following sector outperformance and consequent multiple expansion towards our target multiple on the back of the July trading statement," the broker said.
Fashion retailer SuperGroup jumped after Seymour Pierce said that the shares
are in for a re-rating. "The new management has 'steadied the ship'. With confidence returning, we believe the stock is oversold at 12.9 times FY13 earnings, considering the operational gearing in the earnings and possible step up in the growth rate," the broker said.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 38.27p +3.40%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 261.90p +1.79%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,838.50p +1.38%
Barclays (BARC) 223.55p +0.90%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,084.00p +0.84%
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) 328.50p +0.80%
Next (NXT) 3,595.00p +0.67%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 733.50p +0.62%
Tate & Lyle (TATE) 687.00p +0.59%
G4S (GFS) 265.10p +0.49%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,920.00p -2.69%
Croda International (CRDA) 2,214.00p -2.60%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 655.00p -2.60%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,128.00p -2.42%
Aggreko (AGK) 2,196.00p -1.96%
IMI (IMI) 925.00p -1.96%
Meggitt (MGGT) 402.80p -1.78%
Wolseley (WOS) 2,641.00p -1.71%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 585.50p -1.68%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,296.00p -1.44%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Bumi (BUMI) 180.50p +8.67%
Stobart Group Ltd. (STOB) 117.00p +3.45%
Supergroup (SGP) 679.50p +2.95%
Lancashire Holdings (LRE) 853.00p +2.83%
Man Group (EMG) 92.00p +2.28%
New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 273.50p +2.17%
Dixons Retail (DXNS) 21.82p +2.01%
Home Retail Group (HOME) 99.25p +2.00%
Ultra Electronics Holdings (ULE) 1,620.00p +1.95%
SDL (SDL) 655.00p +1.95%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 479.50p -4.58%
Brown (N.) Group (BWNG) 269.30p -3.41%
RPS Group (RPS) 244.40p -2.63%
Hays (HAS) 77.55p -2.45%
Hunting (HTG) 804.00p -2.43%
Inchcape (INCH) 354.50p -2.34%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 569.50p -2.32%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 103.80p -2.26%
Spirax-Sarco Engineering (SPX) 2,064.00p -2.09%
Yule Catto & Co (YULC) 165.20p -1.96%