- IMF cuts global growth forecasts for 2012 and 2013
- UK economic data comes in mixed
- Footsie still down despite mining strength
The FTSE 100 remained firmly in the red during the morning session Tuesday after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cast a cloud of gloom over the markets after downgrading its growth estimates for the global economy.
Stock futures in the US are also pointing to a weak start when the opening bell on Wall Street rings this afternoon. Investors are likely to remain cautious ahead of the start of the US third-quarter earnings season, which kicks off after the market close this evening with aluminium titan Alcoa reporting.
The IMF has cut global economic growth forecasts for this year and next because "prospects have deteriorated further and risks increased". The IMF said: "The recovery has suffered new setbacks, and uncertainty weighs heavily on the outlook. Downside risks have increased and are considerable."
According to its "World Economic Outlook", the IMF now expects the world economy to grow 3.3% in 2012 compared to the prior 3.5% July estimate and just 3.6% in 2013, down from the previous 3.9% forecast. Forecasts for the Eurozone, UK and emerging markets were all cut.
"The estimates appear to assume that the US will avoid the fiscal cliff and the eurozone will improve next year, both of which seem a bit farfetched at the moment," said analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari.
"If you look at growth estimates over the past few years, the outlook for the year ahead has always been far too optimistic and eventually subject to a downward revision. Conditions in the US and the eurozone are likely to deteriorate before they improve making these estimates very ambitious," he said.
There was a raft of UK economic data for investors to digest today. UK industrial output fell by 0.5% in August, in line with the consensus estimate. "Although industrial production overall conformed to market expectations, figures specifically for the manufacturing sector were softer than expected," said analysts at Investec this morning.
Meanwhile, the UK goods trade deficit widened to £9.8bn in August, up from the £7.3bn in July and above the consensus estimate of £8.5bn.
In like-for-like terms, retail sales values in the UK rose at their fastest rate in the nine months in September, by 1.5% year-on-year, according to data out today from the British Retail Consortium.
FTSE 100: Miners gain in morning trade
Mining stocks were performing well despite the gloomy growth figures from the IMF. Vedanta was higher despite seeing production and sales of iron ore from Goa fall in the second quarter as the government's ban on mining activities in the state starts to bite.
Sector peer Rio Tinto was also making gains after UBS raised its target price on the stock and reiterated its 'buy' recommendation. The broker said that Rio "offers the greatest leverage [within the UK diversified mining sector] to a recovery in commodity demand in China, which we expect to occur from Q4 12 as large infrastructure projects approved earlier in 2012 take hold."
Heading the other way was outsourcing company Capita after Seymour Pierce downgraded its recommendation on the stock to 'hold'. Meanwhile, temporary power solutions provider Aggreko was also hit by a ratings cut from HSBC to 'neutral'.
In contrast, asset manager Schroders was given a lift by Morgan Stanley which upgraded the shares
to 'equal weight' and lifted its target price from 1,535p to 1,665p.
Banking group Barclays was in the blue after announcing to say that it is to acquire the deposits, mortgages and business assets of ING Direct UK from Dutch finance house ING.
Defence group BAE Systems continues to trade lower as opposition to its proposed merger with European aerospace giant EADS mounts. According to the Financial Times this morning, more than 30% of shareholders in BAE have expressed "significant concerns" with the deal.
FTSE 250: Hays impresses with first-quarter IMS
In spite of a mixed trading update, recruitment firm Hays jumped early on. The company said that markets were overall stable through the first quarter though group net fees fell by 1% year-on-year.
Satellite communications services firm Inmarsat fell despite saying that trading in the third quarter remained consistent with trends in the second quarter and in line with full year expectations.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,099.00p +2.90%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,182.00p +2.78%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,843.50p +2.27%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,050.00p +2.19%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 741.00p +2.00%
Evraz (EVR) 248.90p +1.72%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 375.80p +1.71%
Schroders (SDR) 1,558.00p +1.70%
Xstrata (XTA) 965.40p +1.60%
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) 330.50p +1.47%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Aggreko (AGK) 2,249.00p -3.02%
Capita (CPI) 749.50p -2.47%
Sage Group (SGE) 305.80p -2.24%
BT Group (BT.A) 222.00p -2.16%
Serco Group (SRP) 585.00p -1.76%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,230.00p -1.75%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 752.00p -1.51%
G4S (GFS) 265.00p -1.45%
SABMiller (SAB) 2,695.50p -1.37%
Pennon Group (PNN) 723.50p -1.36%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Hays (HAS) 79.85p +6.18%
Home Retail Group (HOME) 97.95p +3.87%
Petropavlovsk (POG) 444.00p +3.04%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 125.70p +2.20%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 484.60p +2.06%
IP Group (IPO) 121.70p +1.93%
Henderson Group (HGG) 115.70p +1.76%
Debenhams (DEB) 106.80p +1.71%
Homeserve (HSV) 222.90p +1.69%
Man Group (EMG) 89.55p +1.59%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 736.50p -3.47%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 1,387.00p -3.07%
Senior (SNR) 198.70p -3.07%
Greene King (GNK) 605.50p -3.04%
Telecity Group (TCY) 930.50p -2.77%
COLT Group SA (COLT) 117.50p -2.65%
Dixons Retail (DXNS) 21.00p -2.46%
Savills (SVS) 396.10p -2.27%
PayPoint (PAY) 768.00p -2.17%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 85.75p -2.00%