- Stocks inch lower, trading at six-week low
- Markets "pause for breath" after sell-off, says analyst
- Iraq concerns keep pushing crude prices higher
- Smith & Nephew falls on Medtronic-Covidien tie-up
techMARK 2,792.67 -0.80%
FTSE 100 6,759.65 -0.27%
FTSE 250 15,680.35 -0.85%
Bargain hunters were absent on Monday morning despite UK stocks finishing the previous session at a six-week low, as ongoing violence in Iraq kept risk appetite in check.
The FTSE 100 was trading 0.3% lower at 6,760 by around midday.
It closed at 6,777.85 at the end of last week, its lowest finish since April 29th.
In Iraq, the army killed more than 279 rebels yesterday as Sunni Muslim insurgents moved to take over the territory north of Baghdad. The US is now said to be considering talks with Iran on how to support the Iraqi government.
Fears over the unrest disrupting oil supplies continued to push prices higher this morning, given that Iraq is OPEC's second-largest oil producer. Brent crude futures were up 0.3% at $112.79 a barrel today.
Despite the small decline this morning, Market Analyst Alastair McCaig from IG said that the FTSE 100 has "paused for breath" after a week of heavy volatility which saw it lose around 1.5%.
He said: "The worries of the previous week, namely Iraq and higher UK interest rates, are still with us, but traders have been reassured by indications of potential US (and even Iranian) action in the Middle East, and the fact that no other Bank of England policymakers have rushed to follow Mark Carney's lead and come out with indications of earlier rate hikes in the UK."
Meanwhile, investors were also looking ahead with caution to the latest two-day policy meeting at the Federal Reserve, which kicks off tomorrow. Analysts widely expect the US central bank to continue tapering asset purchases by $10bn a month to $35bn, but will be keeping a ear out for comments on the economic outlook from Fed Chair Janet Yellen.
Smith & Nephew falls as M&A hopes dissolve
Smith & Nephew declined after medical device maker Medtronic snapped up Irish rival Covidien for $42.9bn. It had been recently rumoured that Medtronic was considering a takeover of Smith & Nephew.
Telecoms group BT fell after The Sunday Times suggested that the company's pension costs may rise.
Oil stocks were making gains as shares
continued to track the price of oil higher on the back of developments in Iraq. Tullow, Petrofac and Shell were among the best performers in London.
Miners were also putting in a decent performance as metal prices rose with Glencore, Fresnillo, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Anglo American, Randgold and Polymetal on the up.
Rolls-Royce was in the red after analysts at Societe Generale cut their rating on the stock from 'hold' to 'sell', saying that there is "some risk of a further earnings downgrade" at the engine maker.
Royal Bank of Scotland fell on reports that it is in talks with private equity groups to boost the balance sheet of its Ulster Bank unit.
Outside the FTSE 350, Majestic Wine slumped after the wine retail said challenging trading conditions resulted in a 0.1% fall in UK like-for-like sales in the year to March 31st with profits more or less flat.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Fresnillo (FRES) 827.50p +2.54%
Glencore (GLEN) 324.55p +2.06%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 857.00p +1.84%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,874.00p +1.30%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,427.50p +1.24%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,607.00p +0.94%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 2,389.50p +0.78%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,041.00p +0.78%
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 2,498.00p +0.60%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 440.90p +0.43%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
BT Group (BT.A) 384.30p -2.54%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,181.00p -2.48%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 275.00p -1.86%
St James's Place (STJ) 769.50p -1.85%
Experian (EXPN) 1,010.00p -1.75%
Carnival (CCL) 2,313.00p -1.74%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 1,933.00p -1.73%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 189.00p -1.72%
Sage Group (SGE) 389.10p -1.67%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 1,003.00p -1.67%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Polymetal International (POLY) 564.50p +4.93%
PayPoint (PAY) 1,127.00p +3.11%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 223.80p +2.47%
Premier Oil (PMO) 349.60p +2.25%
PZ Cussons (PZC) 347.30p +1.73%
Debenhams (DEB) 72.45p +1.68%
Infinis Energy (INFI) 213.70p +1.33%
AL Noor Hospitals Group (ANH) 1,007.00p +1.26%
NMC Health (NMC) 446.80p +1.13%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 833.00p +0.85%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
St. Modwen Properties (SMP) 350.90p -4.52%
Evraz (EVR) 93.00p -4.17%
888 Holdings (888) 112.70p -4.09%
Rathbone Brothers (RAT) 1,977.00p -4.03%
Supergroup (SGP) 962.50p -3.75%
Regus (RGU) 190.30p -3.20%
Entertainment One Limited (ETO) 296.20p -3.20%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 125.40p -3.09%
Carphone Warehouse Group (CPW) 311.10p -3.08%
Howden Joinery Group (HWDN) 298.50p -2.96%