- Russian troops amass along Ukraine border
- UK, Italian and German data disappoints
- Ex-dividend stocks fall
- StanChart falls after results, Shire drops
FTSE 100 6,604.48 -1.17%
FTSE 250 15,162.03 -1.24%
techMARK 2,708.06 -1.23%
Fears about a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine sparked a sell-off on UK markets on Wednesday, with a string of disappointing data also weighing on sentiment.
The FTSE 100 was trading 1.2% lower at 6,604 by midday, having slipped to a low of 6,588.43 - it has not fallen below 6,600 in intraday trade since April 17th.
Reports on Tuesday evening said that Russia has significantly ramped up the number of troops on the eastern border of Ukraine in the last few days, raising fears of a potential invasion as Ukraine's army continues to advance against pro-Moscow separatists.
The Financial Times cited senior Nato officials as saying that Russia has around 20,000 troops deployed in "battle-ready formations" on the border, more than the 15,000 US officials had estimated last week. However, a Ukrainian military spokesman has claimed that there are up to 45,000 Russian soldiers near the border.
Meanwhile, markets were also reacting to reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered retaliatory economic measures against Western sanctions.
Economic data disappoints
Growth returned to UK industrial production in June after a slump in May but the increase was lower than expected, putting even more pressure on the services sector. The Office for National Statistics revealed that overall industrial production rose by 0.3% month-on-month in June, after slipping 0.6% in May, though analysts had expected 0.6% growth.
Italy unexpectedly dropped back into recession in the second quarter, according to the gross domestic product (GDP) data published by Istat. Second quarter GDP shrank 0.2% from the prior quarter after the Italian economy shrank 0.1% in the first three months of the year.
A surprise drop in German factory orders was also on investors' minds. Orders fell 3.2% in June - the most since September 2011 - after a revised 1.6% slump in May.
Ex-div stocks provide a drag
A number of heavyweight stocks were trading lower on Monday after going ex-dividend, including Anglo American, Reckitt Benckiser, Reed Elsevier, BP, Barclays and Glaxosmithkline.
Standard Chartered delivered a less-than-expected 20% fall in first-half profits, but the stock slipped after the Asia-focused bank said it could face another US fine related to "certain issues" with its anti-money laundering systems and controls.
Pharmaceutical group Shire, which has agreed to a takeover by American rival Abbvie, fell sharply on reports that the US is looking to make rules over tax inversion deals stricter.
Budget carrier Easyjet fell despite reporting a 7.7% jump in passenger numbers for June. Investors were still reeling from reports that Russia was considering a ban on European airlines flying over Siberia in response to Western sanctions, with sector peer IAG also under the weather.
Precious metals miner Fresnillo was higher after Credit Suisse upgraded the stock from 'underperform' to 'neutral', saying that the business should recover after a "rough patch". The bank hiked its target price for the shares
by 39% to 900p.
In contrast, Serco's shares were under pressure after Numis Securities cut its recommendation for the outsourcing group from 'hold' to 'reduce'.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Vodafone Group (VOD) 198.70p +1.51%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,020.00p +1.19%
Fresnillo (FRES) 935.50p +0.97%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 5,040.00p +0.70%
Centrica (CNA) 310.30p +0.68%
Sage Group (SGE) 369.90p +0.49%
SSE (SSE) 1,453.00p +0.41%
National Grid (NG.) 852.00p +0.24%
Carnival (CCL) 2,092.00p +0.10%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 862.00p +0.06%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Shire Plc (SHP) 4,648.00p -4.68%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,031.00p -3.10%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 640.00p -3.03%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 4,215.00p -3.00%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 298.70p -2.80%
Barclays (BARC) 216.20p -2.57%
GKN (GKN) 341.00p -2.46%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 1,847.00p -2.43%
Tesco (TSCO) 245.15p -2.37%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,537.00p -2.35%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Interserve (IRV) 636.50p +3.83%
Rank Group (RNK) 160.90p +1.84%
Drax Group (DRX) 701.50p +1.81%
Just Retirement Group (JRG) 150.40p +1.48%
esure Group (ESUR) 263.20p +1.23%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 120.20p +1.01%
Betfair Group (BET) 1,054.00p +0.48%
SVG Capital (SVI) 419.10p +0.43%
NB Global Floating Rate Income Fund Ltd GBP
(NBLS) 99.20p +0.35%
Ted Baker (TED) 1,675.00p +0.30%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Serco Group (SRP) 332.10p -5.97%
Foxtons Group (FOXT) 251.60p -5.06%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 311.50p -4.30%
Renishaw (RSW) 1,687.00p -4.04%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 313.10p -3.96%
Just Eat (JE.) 206.50p -3.95%
Exova Group (EXO) 218.30p -3.83%
Telecity Group (TCY) 739.50p -3.65%
Fenner (FENR) 323.00p -3.58%
Keller Group (KLR) 849.50p -3.25%