- Sports Direct, Wood Group, SuperGroup fall after updates/results
- Taper bets increase ahead of Fed meeting, US data in focus
- FTSE 100 at lowest level since mid-October
- Capital Economics sees 7,500 level for FTSE 100 in 2015
techMARK 2,650.21 -0.92%
FTSE 100 6,442.07 -1.01%
FTSE 250 15,247.68 -0.96%
UK markets extended losses on Thursday morning and were trading at a two-month low by midday on increased bets that the Federal Reserve will begin to scale back monetary stimulus next week.
Sports Direct, Wood Group and SuperGroup were also providing a drag in London after underwhelming investors with their latest trading updates and results.
The FTSE 100 was down 1.01% at 6,442.07, with stock futures Stateside pointing to a weak start on Wall Street later. London's benchmark index has not closed below its current level since October 10th when it finished at 6,430.49.
Nevertheless, analysts at Capital Economics see the FTSE 100 outperforming over the next few years due to a weaker pound and a cyclical rebound in profits, following its underperformance in 2013. In fact, they see the index hitting 7,500 by 2015, whereas the S&P 500
will "struggle from here" reaching just 1,850 by that time.
A budget deal in Washington signed on Tuesday night was met with a mixed reaction on markets yesterday. While the agreement looks to ease spending cuts over the next two years and reduces the potential for political brinkmanship, many believe that it removes yet another obstacle standing in the way of the Fed's decision to taper following the strong labour-market figures out last week.
Economic data from the States will be closely watched today, particularly the release of jobless claims numbers for the week ended December 7th. The consensus forecast is for a pick-up to 320,000, from 298,000 the week before.
"European indices followed their US counterparts lower this morning, as equity markets attempt to price in the possibility of a Fed taper, the prospect of which is becoming more real by the day," said Alexander Young, Senior Sales Trader at CMC Markets.
"That the market is left to second guess both the timing and the size of any such reduction in the feds $85bn [monthly] bond purchasing programme has created sufficient uncertainty amongst traders to take some risk off the table in advance of todays US data," he said.
Sports Direct, Wood Group, SuperGroup provide a drag
Sportswear and equipment retailer Sport Direct slumped early on despite delivering a near-17% jump in underlying profits during its first half, driven by an increase in online and international sales. However, the company did say that "[current] trading has now reverted to management's original expectations" following the outperformance in the first half.
Sports Direct also revealed that long-running Finance Director Bob Mellors, who was appointed in 2004, is to retire at the end of December on health grounds.
Energy services firm Wood Group disappointed with a pre-close update this morning after saying that trading remaining mixed across its three main divisions. While it reiterated guidance for growth in 2013 and 2014, it said its engineering division would see a 15% drop in operating profits next year. Sector peers AMEC and Petrofac fell in sympathy.
Fashion retailer SuperGroup was also firmly lower after a strong first-half report as it warned that comparatives for the third quarter "are more challenging than those experienced so far this year".
Precious metal miners were on the decline as the prices of gold and silver fell; Randgold, Fresnillo and African Barrick Gold were among the worst performers.
Transport group Go-Ahead gained after saying it expects full-year results to come in a touch above previous expectations as after strong first half.
FTSE 100 - Risers
United Utilities Group (UU.) 655.00p +1.63%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,301.50p +0.62%
National Grid (NG.) 750.50p +0.60%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 370.60p +0.43%
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 2,176.50p +0.12%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 761.00p +0.07%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 2,076.00p +0.02%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Sports Direct International (SPD) 709.00p -8.04%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,132.00p -4.79%
Amec (AMEC) 1,060.00p -3.99%
Fresnillo (FRES) 727.50p -3.71%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 3,907.00p -3.55%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 448.80p -3.48%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 785.00p -3.33%
Mondi (MNDI) 910.50p -3.24%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,139.00p -2.90%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 280.20p -2.84%
FTSE 250 - Risers
CSR (CSR) 589.50p +7.38%
Bwin.party Digital Entertainment (BPTY) 118.70p +3.58%
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 19.50p +2.63%
AL Noor Hospitals Group (ANH) 915.00p +2.23%
Xaar (XAR) 1,164.00p +1.75%
Go-Ahead Group (GOG) 1,653.00p +1.54%
AZ Electronic Materials SA (DI) (AZEM) 389.10p +1.46%
Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 360.40p +1.29%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 177.00p +1.26%
Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) 48.17p +1.22%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 713.00p -10.54%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 67.05p -4.21%
Computacenter (CCC) 650.00p -3.63%
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 1,654.00p -3.61%
Halfords Group (HFD) 450.70p -3.08%
Supergroup (SGP) 1,217.00p -2.95%
Enterprise Inns (ETI) 133.80p -2.90%
Spectris (SXS) 2,298.00p -2.63%
Hays (HAS) 115.60p -2.61%
Atkins (WS) (ATK) 1,343.00p -2.54%